I have all kinds of random thoughts going through my head about Easter weekend this year, but here are just a few:
* I have waited for three Easters to pull out the adorable, feathered baskets that I bought in anticipation of someday having three children to hunt for chocolate eggs. The last few Easters have been hard, as I've waited for two more children to use those baskets...and I know that this season will be difficult for other families who are still waiting for their kids to come home.
* I can hardly wait for the screeching of the kids as they seek out those little chocolate eggs. Though there other, more important reasons to celebrate this weekend, chocolate is one way that we make it special.
* In order to tie together the chocolate eggs with the real Easter story, I bought something this year called 'resurrection eggs' - it's a plastic egg carton filled with twelve plastic eggs, each of which contains an item to explain visually to a child the story of Jesus. My hope is that this kind of visual prompt, connected to the egg-theme of the chocolate hunt, will provide a tangible way of remembering the real reason for celebrating Easter.
* Though the kids will be receiving a chocolate rabbit amongst their chocolate gifts, we don't 'do' the Easter bunny, just as we don't 'do' Santa or the Tooth Fairy. Matthew knows not to ruin the surprise for kids whose families do believe in these things, but I remember all too clearly feeling betrayed as a child when discovering that these things weren't true. When Seth recently saw a chocolate bunny on a store shelf, he asked Matthew what that was for. Matthew's response was that some kids believe that the bunny brings them chocolate at this time of year and that some kids really, really believe that it's true. Seth's response? "That's weird Matthew - that's really weird. Chocolate come from Mommy and Daddy and store." There are so many other ways to celebrate my kids having flourishing imaginations.
I love Easter. It's one of my favourite times of the year...right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving. I love Easter because of the opportunities to get together with family; I love the excitment of the chocolate egg hunt; I love the traditional Paska/Easter bread that I baked this week and will serve my family this morning. I love it all.
But the spirit of Easter, for me, is more than wonderful family traditions. Easter represents for me that the baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime grew up and was the only perfect person who ever lived; that he was more than a man and was, in fact, the God who would become my saviour thousands of years later. I have made so many messes in my life and I am grateful for the forgiveness and the new life I have found in that Christ who died on the cross for me and for you. I'm looking forward to reading the Easter story this morning. May you, too, experience the blessing of the Risen Lord amongst all of the other celebrating that you might do.
He is Risen.
He is Risen indeed.