Let me just start by saying that I loooove living in the northern hemisphere! The seasons and church calendar finally make sense! Christmas with snow, Easter with blossoms, summer holiday that doesn’t mix with Christmas. Celebrating Christmas here was great in that sense, and Easter is looking promising too.
(Now all you Kiwis with your eyebrows raised giving me that look of “You better come back!”, don’t worry. We’ll come back, despite the seasons being all wrong in the southern hemisphere. We miss you!)
Once a couple is married, it seems to take a few years to get some holiday traditions in place. Christmas now has a good number of traditions we like to repeat every year, but I’ve always felt that Easter has missed out a bit. It’s so excessively commercialised that it has just turned into an excuse to eat lots of chocolate for most people. Not that there’s anything wrong with chocolate, of course!, but it seems that the old pagan traditions have now totally erased the Christian meaning of Easter, at least in public. I guess the cross or an empty tomb is just not as economically viable as fluffy chicks and eggs and cute little bunnies. (Talking about bunnies — our supermarket was selling skinned rabbit in the meat section today. That was a first for me — I had vague feelings about being grossed out, but that could just be because I’ve never eaten rabbit before!)
We celebrate Easter with so much hope, so much thankfulness, and bittersweet joy. Joy at the gift of sins forgiven — that nothing we could do could earn our salvation, only the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins — and joy at the gift of unearned eternal life. Bittersweet because it cost Him his life, He was humbled to become a man — a man who got hungry, who cried, who loved, who no doubt hit his finger with a hammer countless times, who probably got sore feet from all that walking. We celebrate the empty tomb, that death has lost its sting, that the serpent’s head has been crushed. So much reason to celebrate!
At Easter time I often feel the same way I feel when taking the Lord’s supper. On the one hand I want to cry because it was my sins that nailed him to that cross. On the other hand I want to jump out of my skin with joy that He stooped to save me. Unfathomable, but true.
So today, in preparation for this weekend, I went outside and picked some be-blossomed branches to make an Easter tree. Marica helped me make the few decorations, which was a very fun way to spend a morning together. I also have some hot cross bun dough rising in the kitchen — yum!
Here are some (not-so-great) photos of our Easter tree. Our trusty little point-and-shoot is on its last legs. :-(
And some detail of the decorations. Marica cut out the little yellow flower — it’s about the size of a quarter. I think she did pretty well!
Do you have any special Easter traditions? Tell me about them — I’m always looking for more ideas to make it special!