Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Easter with Ella

This Easter is Ella's second but the first where she will be help to understand some of why we are remembering Jesus and what he did. My hubby thinks it is silly that we celebrate it in autumn instead of spring just because the church apparently co-opted a pagan festival. The new life of the resurrection would make so much more sense to Ella if the world outside was living proof of the concept. Since we have little control over when our country recognises Easter, we are stuck with it for now. I have been thinking about the ways we could make it meaningful for us and for her and the rituals and traditions we want to use.

I am a big fan of traditions. They are the things which create meaning and stability for me and also repetition is so useful for allowing me to approach things from different angles but also with reminders that the essential truths remain. The Easter traditions which I grew up with were attending church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Mum creating an Easter garden including a stone and a cave, little trees and sand. We always had an Easter hunt, which was quite interesting when we were away on the boat and they had to be hidden around the confined space of a yacht. We also tended to visit different churches at Easter because we were often on holiday. Coromandel Anglican church was a real favourite. The vicar was a woman, which always seemed to bode well, and she wore a gorgeous brightly coloured robe on Easter Sunday. There was always a great children's talk and the service was never too long (got to love the Anglican 15 minute sermon). We could always follow along in the prayer book and there was morning tea - especially important with three young children. Oh and when we went up for communion she blessed all the children. Talk about a way to make kids feel special.

So now that it is my turn to set the traditions and also to think about what is appropriate for an almost two year old, it seems very important business. Hubby and I have already adopted the Easter Egg hunt and have even done ones with only adults involved and some very cryptic clues. We want to make our own hot crossed buns this year as food seems to always be popular around here. Some other lovely suggestions I heard at my church Mum's group this week were decorating egg shells, creating an egg tree out of an old branch, reading children's versions of the Easter story and baking easter treats. A great product I was recommended is a plastic egg carton with 12 plastics eggs. Each egg has a tiny object inside which is a symbol representing a step in the Easter story. I think that would be wonderful for next year so that we can tell the story and she can learn by touching and playing with each object. Maybe we could even make our own.

One of the most profound things I have done at Easter is to take communion. It is so poignant to break bread and drink wine at Easter because it is so raw, the pain, the tragedy but also the hope and the freedom. Ultimate sacrifice.

Another event which has made Easter real to me again has been attending a Stations of the Cross art exhibition. Meditating on the art and they interpretations of the steps Jesus took to the cross have moved me and helped me to recommit myself to Him.

This year in the neverending thing that is life and parenthood I need to make some space and time for Easter to be real to me again, otherwise what do I have to share with Ella, except an empty story and some cliched traditions.

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