Easter is one of those occasions that marks milestones in our lives and is rich in memories and emotions. Christians (and some non-Christians too) will be celebrating Easter this weekend. Some will make their once-a-year trip to Church. Some will go all out for the Easter Bunny and commercialize the day as they do Christmas. Most people I know with small children will find an egg hunt for their children, be it at the city park, some club or lodge, at a church, or in their own back yard and there will be Easter baskets Sunday morning. There are many still who will pause to think about Christ, their Savior, and the events that led up to His crucifixion and His victory over death. Most Christian denominations will hold special services Easter morning to celebrate, not His death, but the miracle of His coming forth from the tomb.
Dying hard boiled eggs has always been a part of my Easter tradition. I've never been too sure what the connection is between fancy eggs and the serious events of the resurrection though I've heard a number of theories. As one of eight children the procedure often got a bit messy around the kitchen table as we competed to produce the most beautiful or most original masterpieces. A few years ago some of my daughters brought their children to my house to color eggs together. That resulted in one of my chairs receiving a dye job too, but it also became a cherished memory.
One Easter we were in Washington DC visiting our son-in-law who was a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital when a veterans organization held an egg hunt for the children of the wounded soldiers. Our two-year-old grandson quickly figured out the object of the game and had a grand time racing all over the huge lawn collecting eggs filled with toys or candy. The event was well organized and included refreshments for the soldiers and their families and stuffed plush animals for all of the children. There was something particularly poignant about watching men and women in wheel chairs, leaning on crutches, or wearing thick casts cheering on their children, laughing, and enjoying this family oriented outing.
As a farm child I always equated Easter with the arrival of boxes of new chicks, new goslings waddling after their mamas, a new colt in the pasture, and a wobbly calf in the barn. Frequently a new litter of kittens took up residence in the loft of the barn. The Easter Bunny didn't play a part in my childhood. Mama didn't believe in mixing this commercial gimmick with what she considered the most important religious holiday of the year. We had Easter baskets which we knew came from our parents and often my sisters and I had new dresses which we watched Mama sew for us. She told us the new life on the farm was a reminder of Christ's new life and the gifts of Easter baskets and new Sunday best clothes were a reminder that she and Daddy loved us just as God loved His Son and each of us.
This Sunday I'll attend church and hear the story of the terrible events leading up to the resurrection of our Lord. I'll listen to the music that celebrates the hope given to all the inhabitants of the earth of eternal life. I'll be particularly cognizant of new life all around me in the green of grass, flowers long hidden by mounds of snow, and the happy giggles of small children. My family will enjoy ham and all of the trimmings along with the love and pleasure just being together brings. There will be a special egg hunt for my grandchildren with eggs filled with a year's accumulation of coins. As I always do I will reflect on a long ago Easter morning when with a group of other young people I climbed a small hill to watch the sun rise over the mountains. I'll remember the testimony of His divinity that filled my heart with assurance that morning that Christ lives. And I will rejoice because He is risen.