Easter is different in the empty nest. Gone are the years of Easter baskets, Easter outfits and Easter egg hunts. It’s much quieter, much more introspective. It’s not necessarily a bad thing — just different.
Easter was always a time for big family gatherings when I was growing up. In preparation for Easter Sunday, my mom would take me to pick out an Easter dress and usually a new shorts set for the egg hunt. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s so it wasn’t just an Easter dress, but also, the shoes, gloves, hat and purse to match. I remember one year, in the ‘70s, my family had matching leisure suits — mine, my brother’s and my dad’s pale yellow and my mom’s a pale floral to match. So stylish!
The Saturday night before Easter, my mom would boil a couple of dozen eggs for us to decorate. We would color them with elaborate designs. We usually dyed one solid green, just to be difficult.
We went to church on Easter morning, after we had gotten into the candy in our baskets. They often had to put folding chairs in the aisles to accommodate the extra worshippers. We sang Easter hymns and there was always a stirring choir special before the pastor shared his message. Every year, the familiar story of the cross, the grave and the empty tomb — a story so wondrous, it never grows old.
After church, we would go to my grandparents’ house for lunch; mom, dad, my brother, my aunts, uncles and cousins. Sometimes there would be extra friends or family members but it was always twenty to twenty-five people. We would enjoy ham, potato salad, macaroni and cheese and deviled eggs. My grandmother always had her famous homemade pound cake and Italian Cream cake for dessert.
After lunch, which we kids always finished in record time, the adults would go outside and hide several dozen real, colored eggs. None of those fake, plastic eggs for us. My cousins and I would enjoy the most epic egg hunt. When it was finished, we would count and recount the eggs to make sure they were all found. Invariably, we would be one egg short. That lone egg would usually be found weeks or months later and it wasn’t always a pleasant discovery.
Easter With My Little Family
My two children had a very similar Easter experience — Easter baskets from my mom and dad, Easter outfits, coloring Easter eggs and Easter egg hunt. Add to the mix Sunday School Easter parties and a neighborhood Easter brunch and hunt. My grandmother lived until my oldest was a freshman in college so they also got to experience the Easter Sunday lunch and egg hunt at her house. They were joined in the fun by my cousin’s children. She really did have the best yard for an Easter egg hunt.
But, as our kids often do, they went away to college in a different state. It was easier for them to stay at school or go home with a friend than to travel home for the holiday. One year, when they were both in college in Alabama, we took our Easter celebration to them. That was a lot of fun. The last time the four of us were together as a family at home for Easter was 2008.
Easter In The Empty Nest
The last ten years we have spent Easter with my parents — sometimes at the beach, sometimes at home.
No matter where we are, we usually attend services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. One year, our little church at the beach had a short service each night of Holy Week.
There has been a definite shift in how we celebrate this most holy season. There is more time to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’s last week on earth, more time to listen to podcasts and watch programs online, more time to meditate on and ponder the significance of the cross and the resurrection. Time to reflect on what it means to me.
I’m currently reading in the book of Numbers in the Old Testament of the Bible. There are many detailed instructions for the children of Israel about the sacrifices to atone for their sins. One of the main sacrifices was a spotless lamb. Each year, hundreds, if not thousands, of lambs were sacrificed for the atonement of sin.
Fast forward to the time of Christ — Jesus became that one perfect lamb whose sacrifice would pay for all the sins of every person who ever has or ever will live on the face of the earth. The best part of the story is that he didn’t pay for our sins, my sins, with his death and stay in the tomb. He rose from the dead on the third day and he lives today! Hallelujah! That is something every believer can celebrate!
Happy Easter to you and yours. May your day be blessed as you worship and celebrate our risen savior.
How about you? What is your favorite Easter memory? If you live in an empty nest, how do past celebrations differ from current ones? I’d love to know.