I’ve mentioned before that we don’t “do” the Easter Bunny at our house. I prefer to separate celebrating the return of Spring (which thing we can often hold off on until well into May, thanks to living in the Rockies) and the Holy season of Passover and the Resurrection. Here are a few quite nifty things I have my eye on to enhance our celebration this year, keeping in mind that our household includes a 43-year span of ages, abilities, and interests:
We will most likely do a Passover supper this year, using our simplified Haggadah, incorporating Christian fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Our congregation is hosting an Easter Eve musical presentation; several of us will be singing, and everyone else will be in the audience. I’m excited to get to incorporate more music into the season, and to have extra worship opportunities! God gives us holy days to provide special touch-points, calling us back to remember the wonderful things we have been given through Him. I do think we should look for more days to consider and worship in very simple ways, rather than fewer!
In several spots around the Internet, I’ve found bloggers talking about 40 Day, 40 Bags... taking the Lenten season as an opportunity to streamline our blessings, removing one bag of excess “stuff” from the household for each of the 40 (non-Sabbath) days leading up to Easter. Organizing and freeing ourselves of blessings that have become burdens is one great way to meditate on the blessings we do have, and how rich our lives are, through Christ. It’s also a chance to share some blessings with the surrounding community, by donating unused but useful household and personal goods.
Another friend is taking the challenge to minimize her household’s grocery expenses for 40 days, eating very simply and devoting the saved funds to service organizations that provide food in everyday and emergency situations around the world. It’s a reminder that we are already richly fed through Christ, and that He wants us to share not only gospel truth, but physical succor with others. With so many challenging situations around the globe, this sort of love offering, no matter the size, can make a big difference in the lives of God’s children. If you don’t already have a particular charity to donate to, may I suggest LDS Humanitarian Services? They operate world-wide, do not discriminate as to who receives help, and 100% of the donation goes to aid, not staff.
I love the concept of Lenten Lights (click it for a free download of the readings and concept); I may adapt the readings for specific doctrinal points, as well. I like the idea of starting the night before Palm Sunday, so the Saturday between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is bereft of a reading… we may light just one candle, and have some silent time, to be reminded of hope.
She Wears Flowers has a very nifty Christ-focused story block. A story block has images drawn, painted, or podged onto each side, and can be used as a memory aid or story-telling aid by even very young children. I like that this idea could be adapted to enjoying any scripture story or tradition, such as the Passover seder progression, the Nativity, the Great Flood, or even family history stories. I also like the reminder to use images fairly… it’s nice to be considerate of others’ intellectual rights, after all.
My dear friend shared their family’s Holy Week celebration last year, and kindly gave me permission to share it here (you can also find it mentioned in the blogosphere if you search for Resurrection Eggs). She chose seven fillable eggs (plain plastic would work, but decorated papier mache would last through the years, and could be really gorgeous… or, child-crafted gorgeous, which is a different gorgeous, but fun!), numbered them, grabbed a pretty basket (manly, but decorative), then filled each egg with some token or symbol that corresponded to the events of that particular day of the Holy Week. Each morning, her boys opened one egg, and the contents spurred a bit of breakfast-table discussion. They were excited to share their discoveries with Daddy at dinner that night. She also prepared seven images of Christ to hang by the door through the week, as well. Two quite simple ideas, but very effective ways to put the focus on the holy, rather than the Bunny.
Christianity Today has a great rundown of Holy Week, and some suggestions for daily activities. These could be spread out in the weeks before Easter to increase the celebratory season.
My goal: rebel against the Holiday Industrial Complex, and take back the holidays to be real, simple, meaningful holy days. Traditions with true meaning have a long-lasting impact on families.