We dress in our finest and attend worship services, sometimes at sunrise. We sing songs and anthems and listen to the old, old story passed down from generation to generation; a cruel death on a cross, a dark day of sadness, followed by the best news – the tomb is empty,
Jesus has risen! Families gather for Easter dinner and perhaps an egg hunt. There is the obligatory family photo with little girls in their frothy confections and little boys clearly uncomfortable in their dress clothes. We share stories of Easters past while we make more memories to share in the future.
This is how it is, or was.
For most of my life, Easter was a huge day of celebration. After church, the entire family would gather at my grandparents’ home – aunts, uncles, cousins, grand-children and great-grandchildren. We would enjoy a meal of ham, potato salad and deviled eggs with my grandmother’s famous Italian Cream cake or pound cake for dessert. We had egg hunts of epic proportions with the hunters becoming the hiders for a new generation of hunters. So many good memories.
It has been several years since I purchased a new Easter outfit or filled an Easter basket with chocolate bunnies and jellybeans. Our most recent family Easter picture was taken six years ago. Six years! As much as we are reluctant to admit, children grow up and move on.
The past few years, my husband and I have shared an Easter table with my parents at the beach. A celebration of four.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or a good thing. It is just different.
I was very restless on the night before Easter this year. I woke up several times during the night and instead of worrying if I had our clothes ready for church or all of the preparations for lunch, I found myself thinking about that first Easter. Did Jesus’s mother, Mary, or Mary Magdalene have trouble sleeping too? Was the sleep of the disciples disturbed? I felt such a sense of anticipation. Did they feel it too? They knew that Jesus said he would rise from the dead. Can you imagine what the night before the first Easter was like?
I am trying to find the positive in this empty nest season of life. While I missed spending this special holiday with my children, I recognize the blessing of focusing my full attention on the death, burial and resurrection of my Savior.
Who knows, in a few years I may be hosting an Easter celebration with a full table.