Easter and Advent are the two pivotal Christian celebrations in the church year, so we obviously want our families to honor and commemorate these days in a manner worthy of the great events they mark. Though our secular society also marks these days, we want the tone of our own celebration of these holidays (holy days) to be established by our worship services, the centerpieces of the festival. In other words, our family celebrations are secondary; the worship is central. So this means we have the pleasure of creating traditions, carrying on old traditions, and enjoying the way we each celebrate with our families in our homes. The church does not mandate how we do this. So since someone asked, let’s start talking about a few Easter traditions.
As I’ve already said, Easter celebration begins with worship. For all my life, Easter Sunday meant new clothes for church, and I still like the symbolism of newness and resurrection in wearing new clothes. It’s not just about the “Easter parade.” New garments or special clothing has long been a way of signifying the importance and solemnity of the day. So our kids always had new Easter clothes each year. When I was a kid, the “Easter outfit” included a hat, gloves, and a corsage from Dad! But for our own kids it was simplified. So for me (thanks to my sweet parents), the thought of not having an Easter outfit is sort of like not having a Christmas tree. Simply isn’t done.
The Easter eggs and the candy are plain old fun, and I’ve heard many attempts to justify or condemn them over the years. I don’t know how these things got started, but I think the Easter egg is brilliant. I can’t think of anything more fun for the kids than coloring the eggs and then hunting for them! Children make all our celebrations more delightful. And having an Easter egg hunt keeps us from becoming too self-serious. At the same time, we never invited the Easter Bunny to our hunts. We never could figure out how he got involved in the first place. So the kids never thought a large rabbit came in our home to hide the eggs. Doug and I had such fun hiding them, and such good laughs watching the kids search around for them, I just don’t see how to improve on this great cultural tradition. I love it just as it is.
Our feasting around our own tables in our own homes is the logical extension of the Lord’s Supper, which we celebrate together in the worship service. Easter Dinner is the overflow. And no religious celebration would be complete without a feast. This year Bekah is in charge of the menu, and she will be filling you in with some of the details in future posts. But I will tell you that today we bought two boneless legs of lamb (and a ham), and her recipe for the lamb involves the grill, rain or shine. My Easter tables involves white tablecloths, and I break out as much of the china, crystal, and silver as is wise and reasonable, or as much as will go around.
Besides the eggs and the clothes and the feast and the jelly beans, the last couple years we have begun the GREAT WIND-UP TOY RACE. Each child brings a wind-up toy and the dads supervise the competition. It is the grand finale. Quite providentially today, I just happened to come across the box of wind-up toys from last year’s competition, so we are set to go again.
Whatever you do this Easter to celebrate the Great Day, may the Lord pour out blessings and joy in great measure on your house and on your heads!