"I just love Easter," my niece sighed as she twirled and hopped, awaiting her turn to take a smack at the piñata.
I love Easter, too. I love the hope it represents and the huge, relieving contrast between the grief of Good Friday and the joy of Easter morning. He is risen!
This year I was feeling tired, but I still wanted Easter to be special and meaningful for the kids so that they, too, will always think (if not twirl and sigh), "I just love Easter!" So I asked them what traditions they especially liked, and we'd just stick with those.
They all voted for the Easter bread, which I've enjoyed ever since I was little. My "Aunt" Marlene always makes loaves and loaves every year, and when I was first married she taught me how to make it. Mine is never as beautiful as hers (akin to folding the fitted sheet), but it's tasty and we love it!
We also set aside time to go to the Good Friday service at our church. It's simple yet profoundly meaningful to quietly sit in the candlelight, listening to music and Scripture, partaking of communion, and receiving whatever gentle whispers the Holy Spirit has for our hearts.
Easter morning begins with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for church, all while downing Easter bread and tea. Avery asks for help with "a French braid on this side and a bow right here" and I'm happy to help. She so rarely asks anymore. The service is beautiful, and everyone hugs and smiles and beams, "He is Risen . . . He is Risen, indeed!" No matter how hard the week, month, or year has been, this truth remains and this truth is what gives us hope.
After church we rush home to pull together food and hide "the big eggs." That was another tradition the kids still enjoy and requested that we keep. We haven't decorated or hidden traditional eggs for a couple of years now, but they still like it when we hide their big plastic eggs. This is also a tradition I've carried on from my childhood. (In fact, Avery's egg used to be mine. It's the one with a band of ribbon around the center, made by my Nanee.) The gifts inside are sometimes for the individual, sometimes for the family, and sometimes represented by clues:
|Can you figure it out?|
And then we feast! We usually head up to my sister's, joining them and my parents for a late brunch (is it still called brunch if it happens at 3:00?) where a bountiful feast and the eager cousins await. We've fallen into the habit of each bringing the same foods every year, so that helps keep things simple.
The final essential tradition is the Easter piñata, also carried over from childhood. This year my niece Alainna made it, and she did a beautiful job. My sister and I agree that it's a Marvelous Thing to have children who are old enough to make this messy, four-layered, painted, paper maché craft all on their own. If the weather's nice we head outside to take brutal swings at the work of art, but this year it became dark and gloomy right at piñata hour. Undaunted, Uncle Craig suspended the target from on high, and the kids went at it. The adults rather enjoyed watching from the comfort of the couches.
|Papa and Noni pose for their mug shot.|
Easter usually lands near a few birthdays, so we add those to the festivities as well. This year we had several people to catch up on.
A glance at the clock reminded us all too quickly that it was time to wrap things up and head home. With full hearts (and tummies) we gave hugs all around, thankful for the many reasons we have to truly proclaim, "I just love Easter!"