Saturday, March 31, 2018

How the Reeves family celebrates Easter 2018

In years past, our Easters have looked quite different.  How we've chosen to celebrate is a little bit of a mish-mash of lots of things.  I'll explain.

When the kids were very young, we made a conscious decision to not really do any of the Easter bunny/Easter basket stuff.  We wanted to make sure they were clear that this was a day about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  We bought new children's books every year about the day and what it's all about.  We found little Easter trinkets & novelties at the Christian bookstore and online.  We made Resurrection Rolls (more about that later) and created empty tombs from Play-doh.  We bought a box of Resurrection Eggs and began including those in our special day.  We went to church and talked about the stories the kids heard and learned.  So they never lacked in having a holiday celebration, it just maybe didn't look like what happened at the homes of their peers.  And we were fine with that.  They were too little to care anyway.

When they started school, they began doing egg hunts there when they'd have the class party.  We explained that there were a lot of things that people do for Easter and that some people chose to include egg hunts, bunnies and candy.  They never seemed to be disappointed that we'd skipped that part of the festivities in the past.  But to make sure that they didn't miss out when their friends talked about having tons of candy & stuff, we started buying some candy each year just for fun.  In a household where we don't buy or eat tons of candy, it was a special treat!

When my kiddos were 9, 5 and 4, their cousins came to live with us.  We wanted to integrate them into the family and make them feel at home, so we decided to include a little of the stuff they'd been doing each year into what we were doing.  We kind of blended the worldly stuff & the spiritual stuff, so both sets of kids got a whole new appreciation for Easter that year.  Our kids were introduced to baskets and bunnies and egg hunts while my niece and nephew learned more about the resurrection and Jesus.  It was one of the sweetest Easters ever and I was sold on continuing our Easters that way -- with a little bit of each type of celebration.

The kids' cousins only lived with us a little over a year, so by the time the next Easter rolled around it was back to just my children.  But they'd really enjoyed all the silly fun stuff the year before, so we continued it.  Ever since, our annual Easter celebrations look like this---

About a month before Easter when all the candy hits the shelves, I buy a bag of jelly beans.  For myself.  ha ha!  I never liked jelly beans until all the cool varieties came out.  Starburst, Jolly Rancher, Sweet Tart and Laffy Taffy all make great jelly beans.  The regular old fashioned ones are just gross.  But I buy the bag of yummy ones & munch on them over the course of a few weeks leading up to the holiday.  [Yes, I realize this has NOTHING to do with how the rest of the family celebrates, but I figured we were going for full disclosure here...]

On Good Friday, we attend our church's worship service.  Some years we've had to miss it due to work schedules and such, but we try to make it every year.

On the Saturday before Easter, we dye eggs and make Resurrection Rolls.  I figure the eggs are pretty self-explanatory, so I won't elaborate there.  But the rolls are fantastic.  You take a big marshmallow, which represents the body of Jesus, dip it in melted butter (which represents the oils they annointed his body with for burial.)  Then you dip that into a mixture of cinnamon & sugar, which represents the spices they prepared his body with.  Then you take it & wrap a crescent roll around it.  This represents the burial cloth that they wrapped his body with.  Then cook them according to the cresent roll package.  When done, the marshmallow (his body) is gone...and that represents the empty tomb.  He is no longer there--but we can still smell him, taste him.  Not only are they yummy, but they're a great visual lesson for little ones.

When the kids were younger, we'd hide a few eggs around the yard for them to go hunt at some point on Saturday afternoon or on Easter itself, but they outgrew that by their adolescent years & we just hand them a hollow chocolate bunny instead.  They don't seem to mind these days!  :)

On Easter morning, we go to church.  I realize this isn't unusual--we always go on Sunday morning--but I just wanted to note this is part of our holiday.

On Easter afternoon, we come home and, even though our kids are basically grown now, we all sit down together & open the resurrection eggs and remember what each one represents and the story it tells.

Our kids were never told as little ones that a bunny brings a basket to their house.  The one or two random years that we did a basket at all, they knew it was from us.  I'm not sure why but even when I was a child, I never thought the Easter bunny was an actual, real thing.  I'm not even sure if my parents ever introduced the idea of the Easter bunny to me.  Anyway, they've never believed in a bunny.

No matter how the celebrations have varied over the years, our kids have always known that for our family, Easter is about worship and focusing on the resurrection of Christ.  No matter what the rest of the world does or how they celebrate, for us it's never been about bunnies and eggs and candy.  That's just a fun thing people do on the side, but the real focus has always been Jesus.

We've researched and we know that the original holiday has pagan roots and that early Christians really just sort of latched onto a holiday that was crudely celebrating a fertility goddess and attached it to a Biblical day we want to remember and celebrate.  I understand that some Christians choose to ignore the day altogether because it has such an ugly history & the roots are anything but Christian in nature.  I can respect that.  But for me and my house, we choose to take the bad and flip it on its ear and turn it into something good.  Maybe that's bad or wrong.  Maybe not.  I don't know.  What I DO know is that regardless of what anyone else is doing, *I* am celebrating what my Savior did for me.

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