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This Easter will be incredibly abnormal. Easter is one of the holiest days in the year for Christians and it is difficult to think of the joy the day should bring when we can’t currently all be together.
A commonality with many of those in my online parents groups right now is that we’re all very acutely aware of this. We’re unable to gather in large family groups for meals, to go to traditional church services for Easter celebrations, and the joy of the season is tempered with the somber realization that many people are touched by COVID-19’s tendrils. Sickness, death, and job instability and loss are daily reminders that the world today is out of our immediate control and we’re not sure when stability will return.
How can we make this time special, distinct, and a time of new traditions and memories instead of grieving what we currently cannot do? It’s alright to grieve what we cannot do while embracing the new.
Try some of these ideas, see if they bring joy to your family, and have an Easter that will be one to remember.
1. Dye Easter eggs
We traditionally dye Easter eggs. It’s always messier than planned, and they’re never as beautiful as Pysanka, or Ukrainian Easter eggs. My children don’t care. If you’re short on eggs because of store limits or local shortages, don’t despair. You can still download and color Easter eggs. Many neighborhoods are encouraging people to put bright things in their windows to spread connection and cheer for those who pass by, so consider putting some colorful eggs up in your windows. Challenge your children, no matter their ages, to arrange them in ways that bring some enjoyment for those who drive or walk by. Free coloring pages here or just cut out egg shapes.
2. Bake hot cross buns
Hot cross buns are a traditional food to mark the end of the Lenten season. More than just a hot roll, these buns are filled with meaning. The crosses on the top might be the most overt piece of that, hearkening back to the crucifixion, but the symbolism doesn’t end there. But more than that, the spices used in the buns are a symbol. As you season your dough tell your family about the spices the women used to wrap Jesus’s body before they laid it in the tomb. Recipes for these vary widely and can be adapted to what you have in your pantry. I make ones similar to this.
3. Embrace technology
If your family has always gathered, it’s troubling to picture sitting down to a meal for Easter without a table full of the faces of your loved ones. We are apart during these times not out of fear, but love. We love our families, our communities, those working to keep us safe. And so we are apart for a short while. But technology can bridge this gap, bring loved ones as close as currently possible, and help soothe some of the disruptions in our lives. Facetime or Skype or Zoom in relatives, and eat a meal together, or just spend time and visit. We will be together again as soon as possible.
4. Keep in touch with faith
Keep in touch with your faith. Traditional services might be on hold for many churches, but that doesn’t mean that Easter must happen without faith. If your church has had to totally suspend services for now, you can still live stream or watch recordings to share connections and pray together. It isn’t the same and isn’t a long term substitute for attending church, but when attendance is impossible technology brings us together as churches, just like families. This is also a good time to reread the story of Holy Week in the New Testament Gospels.
5. Put on your Easter best
Dressing up in our Easter best is a long standing holiday tradition. Even if we aren't going out, we can still dress up for Easter. Put on your Easter best, get the kids to dress up, and take pictures, even have your own parade around the house. It's not the same, but you can still show off your formal holiday attire, even if just to yourselves.
This Easter is unlike all of the ones that have come before in our collective memories, but these differences can make us draw closer together. This can be a Holy Week of family time, of meals spent together, of quiet prayer and meditation. There is so much to pray for across our world at the moment, and this Easter weekend is an ideal time to remember our loved ones in prayer.
As her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth so aptly and warmly reminded everyone earlier this week, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”