Happy Easter, friends!
We’ve wandered the wilderness of Lent for forty days and now the season of resurrection is among us. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
This year I have two parental goals during Eastertide.
- Remember to teach the story of Easter.
- Remember to celebrate Easter for its full fifty days.
As a parent of young children, Easter morning is typically full of managing chocolate egg consumption, tying tiny bow ties, taming wild hair, trying to get dressed myself, running around my yard clipping flowers to take to church, and begging our two darling children to stand still and smile for one decent picture. All this before we even step foot into church. Then after the liturgy, we always participate in some sort of egg hunt, an Easter brunch with extended family or friends, and finally collapse at home for the blessed Easter nap. In the hustle of Easter morning and haze of Easter afternoon, it’s been easy to forget talking to our children about what makes Easter Easter.
Today on Easter morning, I want to remind my children of that first Easter morning. Last night I put our Archbishop Desmond Tutu Children of God storybook bible in the car so they can read aloud the story of the empty tomb on our drive to church today. We will talk about the two angels’ response to the women at the tomb, ‘Why are you looking for Jesus here? Jesus is alive! Go tell the others.’ I will ask the questions, Why did Jesus rise? Where did he go? Who did the women tell? I also want to talk with them about the women rushing to tell the other disciples and how ‘at first, no one believed them.’ There are so many conversations we can have about truth telling, believing other people’s stories and how female voices have been received the past two thousand years.
Second, I want to teach my children that Easter not a single Sunday. Really, this is a reminder for them as they learned about the season of Easter from Godly Play a couple years ago. In the 2nd volume of The Complete Guide to Godly Play, Jerome Berryman writes that “Easter is so great a mystery that you can’t keep it in only one Sunday. It keeps on going for one, two, three, four, five, six weeks.” Good stuff.
My children know that Lent was initially a season of preparing catechumens for their baptism, however, I’m not sure they know that the initial purpose of Easter’s fifty days was to continue the faith formation of these new Christians. These fifty days present the opportunity to deepen our own faith formation of what it means to live in light of the resurrection. Eastertide is the season when we remember our baptisms and how through this sacrament we are fully initiated into Christ’s Body the Church. It’s a season of rejoicing, and embracing what it means when we say, “The Lord is risen indeed.” This is a season of resurrection, joy and celebration.
The best way I know to teach my children that Easter lasts fifty days is to intentionally observe it for all fifty days. Each summer our family puts together a Summer Fun List full of activities we want to do during summer vacation. We love picking an excursion or craft each morning and then marking it off before going to bed that night. Having a list taped on the refrigerator helps us all remember that summer vacation has more to offer than video games and Netflix.
Because this list works so well for our family in the summer, I put together fifty ways to celebrate Easter. I’ve printed it out, taped it to our fridge and then will ask the kids to pick something each morning after breakfast that we can do at some point during the day. Whether we are reading John’s account of the Resurrection, painting kindness rocks, watching the Presiding Bishop’s Easter Message or writing letters to godparents, we will be talking about what it means to live as Easter people.
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
How will you teach the story of Easter to your children this year?
How will you intentionally observe all fifty days of Eastertide?