When the kids were little, our Easter overflowed with traditions: special breads, special tablecloths, an Easter tree covered with years of decorated Ukrainian eggs, a Seder dinner on Holy Thursday, a papier-mâché tomb with little cut-out figures of guards, angels and Jesus, and the climax of the Easter Vigil at Mount Angel Benedictine Abbey. Our favorite holiday of the year.
Now, with so many of the kids away and on their own, it’s hard to get up the energy to do all these things. This year I was ready to cut way back. I’m tired.
But then my daughter came home from college, full of excitement. Last year she spent Easter in Spain, where the spectacle of Holy Week – processions every night – takes over the city. As much as she loved the foreign traditions, she was extremely homesick for our family’s special way of doing things.
I didn’t realize how much all those traditions meant to her and to her 18-year-old sister. It didn’t matter to them whether it was all perfect. It just mattered that we kept the feast in the way we always have. So we all mustered the energy to set up the tree and the tomb, and we baked and baked, and we drove the hour and a half Saturday night to the Easter Vigil. When we got home, some of the bread was still not baked, so I was up until 3:30 a.m. finishing it off.
Crazy. But I’m grateful my daughters insisted we make the effort. Thank you, Lord, for making me see the joy of Easter through the eyes of my children. What richness!