Easter is a special day for those of us who believe in Christ. In fact, despite the emphasis our culture places on Christmas day, I think Easter is the most holy of holidays. This is the day Jesus, fully man and fully God, died on the cross for our sins. More important than the pretty dresses, adorable baskets, chocolate eggs and delicious brunch is HIM who came to redeem the world.
At our house we don’t have as many Easter traditions as Christmas traditions, and I like it this way. As much as Christmas is a magical time of year, it can also be stressful and rushed. The year is ending and we all want to go out with a big BANG. We want gifts, and parties, and lots of food, and perfect music. Easter, on the other hand, is perfectly simple.
We spent our first married Easter in China, and it’s the most memorable holiday I’ve ever had. Jonathan and I got breakfast at McDonald’s–a treat when you’ve been eating noodles or cereal every day for weeks. Then we met all our house church friends at a local park for worship, sharing, and eating. The second photo (above) is our newspaper picnic complete with chicken feet, random chips, yogurt drinks, noodles and dumplings, peanut butter, and many other oddities.
Since we moved to Sacramento it’s become a tradition to stay here for the Easter weekend rather than visit our families. This started because logistically it’s difficult to celebrate on Sunday morning and then travel home that same day. Our first year here, in 2007, I invited a few couples to our tiny apartment where I eagerly used my wedding china for the first time. We’ve hosted Easter many time since, sometimes crammed indoors during pouring rain showers and other years at the park or our backyard. Some years it’s been fancy and intimate, but most years it’s fairly casual. As we’ve added children, it’s becoming even more chaotic.
This weekend we’ll gather with a few friends, and we’ll likely be crammed indoors because of the weather. I’ll bring out Anna’s little thrift store Easter basket I painted hot pink last year, and eggs will get hidden all over her bedroom instead of outside. The kids will run around like crazy animals while all of us adults squeeze past each other in the kitchen to get beers in the fridge, stir pots, or grab paper towels spilled milk on the carpet. It won’t be perfect, that’s for sure, but our newspaper picnic in China taught me it doesn’t have to be.
While I’m very much anticipating a meal free of chicken feet, I’m most eager for the gathering of hopeful friends. In community we remind one another that Christ came for all of us. We gather on a spring Sunday every year to marvel in the blooming trees and daffodils, the warming weather, and the promise of beauty again after a long, dark winter. There is life after death.
Do you have any Easter traditions? What will you do this Sunday to celebrate the Risen Lord?