A dear friend shared this C.S. Lewis quote on Easter Sunday and it resonated with me deeply:
There is a stage in a child’s life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and very devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began ‘Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen’. This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer be sacramental. And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs; if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life.
The young child could be Carter; the words of the poem might sound more like, “pink planes and ding dings and candy for me. My testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
I think often about building a home that will strengthen my children’s testimonies of the Savior. During the holidays, as I strive to create family traditions and memories, I think constantly about balancing the festal and the religious. How can Easter baskets be fun and also teach of Christ? How can I center holiday traditions and activities around Christ, and also indulge in everything else? How can I help my children put the spiritual first and still taste something of Easter in chocolate eggs?
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. The entire month of December is dedicated to Christmas activities and traditions. Until this year, Easter has been a holiday that snuck up and passed with little fanfare. Yet, as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection and His triumph over death, this holiday is as important as the holiday that celebrates His birth. Without the resurrection, the Savior’s Atonement would have been incomplete. He is risen, and this is the reason we can hope for a brighter, more perfect day. This is the reason we can hold on to faith during dark times. This is the reason we will live again in families eternal.
After our darkest Fridays, Sunday will come.
This year, we started to create our Easter traditions. We dyed eggs with shaving cream and food coloring:
We went to our first ward Easter egg hunt:
We shared Easter baskets for the first time and I agonized over how to fill them: I love children’s books, and tend to shy away from toys. I am partial toward gifting family experiences and making memories (this year we are going to a Giant’s game!). I wanted to include things that were related to Christ, but this year our baskets were more chocolate heavy than Jesus focused. Will do better next year. We read Easter scriptures each night like an advent calendar. We continued a beloved tradition from Andy’s childhood: the Bradshaw Easter Egg hunt.
I loved gathering ideas from friends who were generous enough to share their traditions and celebrations online. I have a few things I want to test in our Easter repertoire next year: silk-dyed Easter eggs; Easter countdown week with scriptures, children’s books and videos; crazy socks in Easter baskets…
Here’s to chocolate eggs and Jesus risen. To building testimonies and memories one day at a time. Christ is risen and I rejoice everyday. Hope everyone had a happy Easter!