Today many will be filling Easter baskets with fake grass, chocolate eggs and stuffed bunnies. Others will be getting their Easter Sunday clothes ready for tomorrow and traveling to see family. Today, however, is a solemn day. It is the one day that there is no God per se. By the looks of what’s going on in the world however, that seems to be the case almost daily. So, what is Easter? So many, many things and so many, many meanings. First and foremost it’s the day Christ rose from the dead, giving Christians around the world a reason for joy and a season of hope. It is a holiday celebrated by many and considered a most holy day in the church. The anguish of Lent is removed, flowers once again adorn the altar, and choirs sing loud and proud.
As a little girl, I loved Easter. It was the day you got to dress up in a new, colorful Easter dress complete with gloves, hat, lace socks and white patent leather shoes. What’s not to love?! I treasured coloring eggs using that flimsy wire egg holder out of the PAWS kit and had so much fun eating “lipstick eggs.” Much like Christmas and Thanksgiving, families got together and big meals took place in the formal dining room using my mom’s silver, china and crystal. Granted, some of the formality and our mom’s requirement of perfect manners drove me and my sisters nuts, but in hindsight they did make each meal memorable! We almost always got baby chicks too. To this day I don’t know where my parents got them or what happened to them once they grew up, but I do know they made every Easter special.
Other than the religious reality of it all, perhaps what I love most about Easter are Easter Lilies. They are one of my favorite flowers…ever. I love how they fill an entire room with their magical scent and how the ones I replant every year in our backyard bloom again and again. It truly warmed my heart to receive a text from my friend Judy last week saying she always thinks of me when she sees Easter Lilies. I had no idea but there’s nothing I’d like to be associated with more than an Easter Lily!
I’ve never been a big Peeps fan (are you?) but I love Jelly Beans. In fact, I love all jelly-ish and gummy candies…so much so that I give them up for Lent! My favorite colors are the yellow and purple ones but I am not a big fan of the white or black. It’s always fun to have our annual “Jelly Bean Tasting” in my preschool class to see what colors which kids like the best. The faces they make and the things they use to describe them are so precious. I also love that this year my little three-and-four-year-olds really seemed to really “get it.” They knew all about Judas kissing Jesus’ cheek, Jesus’ “big meal” with His friends, the stone being rolled away, and the angel saying “Jesus is alive!” In fact, they love screaming that part!
I have always loved Easter. Flowers start to bloom, the weather improves, and everything just seems joyful. Sadly this year is going to be a quiet Easter. Kristen doesn’t get any time off from school for Easter so she is in Plano celebrating with a friend’s family. She didn’t get time off last year either, but since Smitty was away at The Masters, I drove up to Oklahoma and spent Easter there. This year it will be just me and Smitty…and Boomer. No big plans are made and no ham or pork tenderloins have been bought. My china, silver, and crystal are tucked away and the dining room will remain empty.
Maybe this is God’s way of telling the two of us it’s time to focus on what’s really important: Him. Not the bunnies, not the food, not the jelly beans, not even the lilies. As with the earth and the church year, it’s also a new season; a season to bloom and begin again. Our nest is empty, but tomorrow we will go to church, eat what we decide to eat, and be grateful for our nest and that He is alive again. As little Bernice says at the end of “Hope Floats,” our “cup runneth over.”
Happy Easter everyone!