Monday, April 5, 2010

Making Easter

Easter holds greater spiritual significance than Christmas. I mean, it's wonderful and miraculous that Jesus Christ was born, especially in the beautiful, humble circumstances in which he came to earth, but what was he born for? To show us how to live, and then most importantly, to give his life for us, and rise again.

In my early motherhood, I used to really struggle with how to keep the focus on the real meanings of religious holidays, but that usually meant trying to smother the commercial, more traditional aspects of celebrating, and that didn't work well for me either. I grew up in a family where my mom loved to create holidays for us. We had traditions for each holiday and they were fun. I still knew what it was that we were really celebrating-- I never lost my love for the baby Jesus in hoping that Santa made his appearance, and I never confused the fact that Easter was about the Resurrection, not the Bunny who would fill and hide our baskets. So I've continued with that assurance, that we can have both fun and meaning as part of our family holiday traditions.

I've also learned that to try to compete with sugar is a losing battle when it comes to getting kids to sit still and listen, so instead we had a family devotional on Saturday night. I gathered the beautiful pictures from the Gospel Art Kit to tell the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We read from the Bible, and with the children sitting around, we remembered the last events of the Savior's life, leading up to his infinite sacrifice on our behalf. I had also seen directions for a cute visual aid on another blog, and had made one for our family so that Conor could have a strong visual reminder of what Easter is really all about.

When we got to the part of the story where Jesus' body is placed in the tomb and a rock rolled in front of it, I showed the little poster I'd made.

Then, on the third day, when Mary came to the tomb to find it empty. . .I had Conor roll back the stone and asked him if Jesus was still in there. Surprised, he said, "No! He's gone!" Inside is only the cloth which wrapped his body, because Jesus was alive again! (He loved that part.) We finished the story with his ascension into heaven and the promise that He will come again, and the truth that He lives! And we sang "He is Risen!" together and ended with a prayer. The visual aid stayed on the piano, next to the Christus statue, to remind us throughout the weekend.

Easter morning begins the traditions that I grew up with as a kid. During the night, the Easter Bunny fills and hides the baskets, and the kids get up early to search high and low for their treats. Lyndsay had gotten home from her road trip around 1am, after I was asleep, so my Easter present was finding her in her bed and hugging her.
We listened to General Conference together. (I'm so sorry for the rest of you that you had to listen to all those hours of talks written especially for me.) Lyndsay and I cooked our Easter Feast--she's my Lion House Roll girl, and the rest of the family watched The Blind Side while we worked in the kitchen. (Can I just say that I LOVE that movie? Love it.) We ate together and heard stories of Lyndsay's trip. Mostly about a certain boy who got up on the open-mic stage in the BYU-Idaho cafeteria and sang songs dedicated to her in front of everyone. Oh, how our hearts swooned! :)
Conor had his little Easter egg hunt in the backyard. We dyed our hard-boiled eggs in the evening.
The big kids never tire of the traditions. And the older they get, the prettier the eggs become!

Other things like frosted sugar cookies and Big Chocolate Easter Eggs keep me in the kitchen pretty much forever. But I want to create the feelings that my mother created for me when I was a child in the hearts of my children. And I want them to pass them on to their own children someday.
Creating holidays, carrying on traditions, instilling memories in the hearts of happy children. It's one of the best parts of being a mom.


Braden Bell said...

Jenna, great stuff. It sounds like you have a great balance--and I'm jealous of your garden! Mine is still a sad patch of rocks and dirt and some valiant, spindly broccoli starts. Not to nag, but I wanted to make sure you got my email about the blog tour/review date.

Happy late Easter!

Julie Wright said...

you are an awesome mom. My easter wasn't even half this cool.

lesa said...

I love to create traditions as well. One of mine this year is to have a special Sunday dinner once a month. On my blog I have a "page" dedicated to showing our monthly special dinner.

I was thinking last night how important His birth is but how important the meaning of Easter is as he gave his life for us. With General Conference and those Easter thoughts in my mind, I've enjoyed the weekend as I've pondered so much.

Amber Watt said...

Sounds perfect! YOU are creating wonderful traditions and memories for your kids! I love you!

Raelene said...

You are a fantastic mother! Love to all of you.

Luisa Perkins said...

Uh, no--those talks were all written for ME. ;)

You're an amazing mother.

Andrea said...

I love your balance of the celebrations. I'm still trying to find that balance and don't want Easter to be all about the bunny and Christmas about Santa, but also don't want those parts gone. You have inspired me to do both, as did my parents.
And sorry- those talks were for me!