Today is Easter Eve, though I’ve never heard it called such a thing, and I’m finding myself on a sweet stroll down memory lane. Won’t you join me?
What characterized the Easters of your childhood? What made this cherished church holiday special for you? A brand new outfit? Waking up to an Easter basket brimming with goodies? A sunrise service or Sunday afternoon feast with your family, close and extended? A city-wide egg hunt ablaze in color and chaos? Day-by-day deconstructing a Resurrection egg set to examine tiny symbols that represented the life of Christ?
With a big grin and a bit of horror, I recall the coordinating pastel dresses my sister and I wore when I was about four, complete with crunchy crinoline skirts, white bowler hats, and shiny patent leather shoes. “Fancy” is relative, yes? I also remember being a beast when it came to hunting for Easter eggs. Never was I more fierce or competitive than when a contest for most eggs found or a golden egg was at stake. It was in your best interest not to get in my way because you just might come face to face with a 35-pound steamroller determined to win a prize.
Are your earliest Easter memories similar or something entirely different?
Fast forward many years to when I became a mother with three children of my own. It never occurred to me until right now how closely the practices of my own childhood inspired Easter traditions for our family. New, coordinating outfits for our daughter and two sons; maybe not crinoline for Rachel, but all three matchy-matchy (until I finally learned that didn’t actually have to be a thing). Baskets filled and waiting right outside their bedroom doors. Attending church somewhere, wherever we happened to be that morning. A glorious lunch with our extended family (or friends when we had to be apart), anchored by glazed ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, and way too many sweets. And an egg hunt — always an egg hunt — except now my competitive beast mode for finding the prized or most eggs was proffered for my babies.
Memories are golden when they connect our present to happy or special moments from our past, aren’t they? While it’s unhealthy to live in the past or to become stuck in a rut of longing for the “good ol’ days,” telling and re-telling the stories of our lives can build unity, familiarity, and identity among family members. These are good things.
Easter traditions, in terms of norm and practice, vary from family to family, church to church, denomination to denomination, and even culture to culture. How we commemorate this holy holiday doesn’t matter a bit, but why we celebrate Easter is essential.
Please continue reading The Powerful, Remarkable, Beautiful Truth About Easter over at (in)courage. And, please, do share your thoughts in comments!