Easter is one of my favorite holidays. It’s also the holiday that makes the least sense to me from a secular point of view. What do bunnies, chicks, and eggs have to do with Easter, really? At least with Christmas, the tradition of gift-giving is somehow related to the main event even if most people leave Christ completely out of it.
For most people, it seems Easter is really a celebration of spring and the changing of the season and has very little to do with Christ’s death and resurrection. Since the time of year coincides with the Christian holiday of Easter, the two joined together. I suppose this is a very American way of things. Do Europeans celebrate Easter non-religiously as do most Americans? What about countries without Christian-Orthodox influence? I suppose it probably isn’t even on the calender in those places.
Growing up, I received a Spring basket on the first day of Spring instead of the traditional Easter basket. I have always appreciated my parents doing this as I still got to have the fun of baskets and eggs, but with the proper emphasis on what we were really celebrating on Easter. This is a tradition I plan to continue with my own kids someday.
Now, back to the present day, which was what this post was going to be about when I first started. Our church has a Tenebrae (Latin for ‘shadows’ or ‘darkness’) service on Good Friday which I find powerful and moving. Candles are lit, the choir sings in between dramatic Scripture readings, we observe Communion, the candles are extinguished, and we all leave—as we came in—in meditative silence.
Due to several factors, we were not able to travel to be with family for an Easter meal this year. However, we were blessed to join in with our good friends, Ryan and Kyna, and Kyna’s family who were in town visiting. We had a big celebratory meal on Saturday evening (so the travelers could be on their way after church on Sunday). The meal included roast lamb, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, salad, bread, and tiramisu and strawberries for dessert. It was quite a delicious feast! It was a wonderful day of fellowship and fun. Sunday morning we ended up going to first service at church (we’re normally second service people) and enjoyed a relaxing day including a nap in the sun and some gardening. We built the first fire of the year in the fire pit and cooked hot dogs and s’mores over the flames. We finished the day with a movie, as per usual. While we missed spending time with family, we both enjoyed the celebrations… all possible because He is risen. He is risen, indeed!