Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter Lost, Easter Found ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, celebrations, Easter, Easter bunny, holiday, Jesus Christ, LDS, resurrection, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormon,

Easter had vanished. Oh, it still existed on the calendar, but with our family grown and gone, it only left my husband and me for celebrations. The joy and anticipation of Easter faded to almost nothing. Some years, it was by sheer luck that I remembered to defrost a ham in time for the holiday dinner, or to color eggs.

We watched our friends hold their “Easter Bunny” celebrations on Saturday and their family dinners on Sunday, and we wondered what would work for us. With no children around, egg hunts and colorful baskets lacked excitement. Dinner with our extended family was normally out of the question because, at the time, our loved ones lived far away.

Then one day, it hit me—we’d been looking at Easter as a time for children’s activities and family get-togethers, rather than emphasizing the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Searching the scriptures and pondering the true significance of the holiday, my husband and I brainstormed for ways to make Easter more meaningful. Together we came up with a plan for a week’s worth of simple activities that emphasize the Savior, His sacrifice, and the symbols of resurrection and rebirth.

• Monday before Easter: For family home evening, plant spring bulbs such as jonquils, narcissus, or tulips into pots. Place in a sunny window, keep moist, and watch for their splendor—children and adults alike will enjoy monitoring their growth. Although the flowers won’t bloom in time for Easter Sunday, their blossoms will be a reminder of the resurrection and of new life in the weeks to come.

• Tuesday: Visit the cemetery and place spring flowers on the graves of departed friends and loved ones. Discuss the glory of one day being reunited with them because of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.

• Wednesday: Do good works that require sacrificing for another. This could include writing notes to servicemen or missionaries, humanitarian projects, donating time at hospitals, or helping the elderly with spring yard work.

• Thursday: Write a note to someone in your family, thanking them for their sacrifices.

• Friday: Read and discuss the story of the crucifixion in Matthew 27:27-54.

• Saturday: Read and discuss D&C 138: 11-24, which details the Savior’s visit to the spirit world prior to his resurrection. Afterwards, color eggs, bake bread or do other Easter traditions that inspire contemplation of the symbolism of rebirth.

• Easter Sunday: In the morning, sing an Easter hymn. Before partaking of the sacrament, read and contemplate the story of the resurrection from Luke 24:1-9. At dinner, set a symbolic place at the table for the Savior.

• Monday: For family home evening, enjoy colored eggs, candy in baskets, or other secular traditions with family or friends. One benefit to celebrating the non-religious traditions on the Monday after is that holiday candy is at half-price.

Try putting the plan into action in your own life. Whether you’re a family of one or ten, you’ll find Easter has a more spiritual tone. Even when you’re only able to implement a few of the ideas, you’ll focus on the atoning sacrifice of the Savior and will feel more fully the joy of the resurrection.


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