I love Easter, don’t you?
It’s not just because of the crispy, candy-coated, malted milk ball-centered Robin’s Eggs I look forward to all year. But hey … YUM. (Introduced my grands to those decadent delicacies of spring this year and now we’re all addicted.)
My heart affinities for my Savior are always lavishly renewed at Easter when I play fabulous classics like “The Easter Song” by the 2nd Chapter of Acts (a 1970s brother/sister band that I adored … “Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing that we can be born again … (are you old enough to remember that one? If not, you simply MUST Google it! You’ve never heard such compelling tight harmonies and soaring high notes).
Then there’s Michael W. Smith’s, “Hosanna” (“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna …”). *I hope I got this title right; those are the first words to the song but I’m not sure of the correct title – Siri is no help at all; she claims she’s never heard of Smitty, one of the pioneer fathers of contemporary Christian music. SAY WHAT?????
And my fave old school Easter hymn, “Up from the grave He arose … with a mighty triumph ‘ore his foes …” Oh, how can your feet not tap with the downbeat of this worshipful memory worm?
Okay, my BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever), what Easter song are you humming right now? Give it a second – summon “Easter” in your memory banks and and see which fave from your archives pops up front and center. Now type it in below and share it with us, your Blessed Friends Forever community. And also any other Easter traditions that you cherish from your childhood or your children’s childhoods.
In the meantime, I’m compelled to share a favorite tradition from mine. This is an excerpt from the “Keeping Christ in Christian Holidays” chapter of my book, Mom NEEDS Chocolate.
Happy Resurrection Day, dearest friends!
“Now, walk Jesus down the road lined with toothpicks, but be careful not to let Him fall off Battlecat!”
“Okay, but if G.I. Joe is playing Peter, can he bivouac behind the couch after the rooster crows?”
“Mommy, can Skeletor be Pontius Pilate?”
“Hey! You’re supposed to throw the palmetto fronds in the road for Jesus, not poke your sister with them!”
“We don’t have enough twist ties to hold both Ken dolls on the crosses beside Jesus. Oops – the pencil lead just broke and the cross fell off the shoebox of Calvary!”
“Oh, no! The dog’s chewing up Judas and the 30 pieces of tin foil!”
Bizarre as these comments sound, they were part of our Easter tradition as my children grew up. In order to make the Easter story more real to them, we acted out the entire week preceding Easter with dolls, beginning with Jesus’ Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem and ending with His glorious resurrection.
We had a real Jesus doll I’d purchased at a Christian bookstore, but the rest of the cast was assembled (with a lot of imagination) from the toy box. That first year, He-Man was in vogue, so he and his trusty green tiger-steed, Battlecat and their adversary, Skeletor, had starring roles, along with the Barbie gang and army guys in full regalia.
On Good Friday, we’d set aside an hour to open up the big picture Bible and gather our props, which included three crosses made of pencils rubber-banded together and stuck point down into a sturdy shoebox. The box doubled as Jesus’ tomb, so that when we completed the story up to the crucifixion, the crosses were removed. Jesus was wrapped carefully in a shroud fashioned from Granddaddy’s white handkerchief, and buried in the shoebox cave with a round pillow rolled in front of the opening.
We placed the box by the fireplace and tiptoed reverently around it until Jesus sprang forth from the grave on Easter morning. My now-grown offspring still talk about how exciting it was to awaken early and run into the living room to find the hanky grave clothes discarded in a pile and Jesus miraculously sitting atop the shoebox tomb in his purple robe, his little plastic arms raised triumphantly in the air.
Corny, you may say. But the kids loved this symbolic ritual honoring our Lord Jesus, and it served to imprint these most important events, crucial to our faith, in their minds forever.
Julie Blackmore says
Wow!!!! He has risen!!! Glory to God!!!! I love Michael W. Smith’s song as well, but I was more engages with the GI Joe/Barbie & Ken dolls/pencils has crosses etc for the children!!!! That is so imaginative!!!!! So awesome!!! Great ideas!!!!! Memories and wisdom to last a lifetime!!!! What a great way to express Passover week!!!!
What Easter traditions do y’all treasure, Julie?
Thanks so much for taking the time to write, Julie. I lugged my bag of “Easter story props” down to our church Sunday and did the doll reenactment for the preschoolers. They loved it! The only problem was that they all wanted to rush the stage and play with all the dolls too! I just hope they’ll remember the Easter story a little better.
Wendy Tompkins says
I was just thinking of old Easter hymns this morning! The first one that came to mind was Christ the Lord is Risen Today- I always loved the Alleluia part!
Oooh, I love that one, Wendy. I’m sitting here singing it now (with a lot of do-do-do’s in place of words I can’t remember)! Gotta look it up and fill in the holes …
Sandra Siedel says
My father always sang at our service. His favorites were The Old Rugged Cross, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, In the Garden & How Great Thou Art. When the congregation joined in the rafters really rang with praise. I miss the old days & the old hymns.
I loved your rendition of the Easter Story for the kids. What a lovely way to teach as well as celebrate this special holiday.
Sandra, you’ve listed many of my all-time faves there! I love to sing those while traipsing in the mountains too, especially, “In the Garden” and “How Great Thou Art.” Nobody can hear me just miss those high notes 😀
I love all those old hymns! They are all so precious! I also love Don Fransisco’s He’s Alive song! Puts chill bumps on the ole arms!
So thankful for a God who provided His own Lamb for us! What a redemption!!
Happy Resurrection Day!!
Oooh, I haven’t thought about that song in years, Sandi – but I’ve always loved it too. I believe that’s the song you used to sign for us decades ago at good old TBPC, isn’t it? You could always stir us to tears with your beautiful signing gift. Happy Resurrection Day, my friend.
Kathy Hotchkiss says
The church I grew up in would perform an Easter Sunrise Service every Easter morning. I remember the practices, the costumes and set preparation on the stage area of the church. The most memorable ones were when they would create a garden scene with the tomb and the stone. You would walk into the sanctuary for the service and the fragrance of all the tulips, lilies, hyacinths was so beautiful. At the end of each service the whole congregation would sing He Lives! That is always the song I associate with Easter.
Debora, I LOVED your tradition for the week leading up to Easter. I wish I had done that with my children.
I love Easter Sunrise services too, Kathy – of course I’m such an early riser, it’s not difficult for me to get ready and attend those; I’m already up anyway. Some years I create my own by taking my morning prayer walk at dawn so I can watch the sun rise over a nearby lake. The shimmering pink jewels on the water remind me how loved I truly am. Thanks for sharing your Easter Tradition memories with us, dearest BFF!
Valarie McGee says
I have always felt a stirring when I hear the chorus from Arise My Love by NewSong.
Oh, yes, Val – that’s a very moving one.
Naomi Risley says
What a beautiful Easter tradition you had, awesome memories!!