Oh, how I love, love, love Easter!
It is by far my favorite season in the liturgical calendar.
I love all of our traditions, old and new. Transforming creamy white eggs into brightly dyed gems, waking early Easter morning to see five sleepy yet smiling faces eager for their first treats in 40 days, and hearing them shout, "Happy Easter! Yay! Lent is finally over!
The crown of thorns we made to represent our sacrifices during Lent is cast out...
and triumphantly replaced with the jeweled crown, created for our King victorious.
I love seeing my little men clean and dapperly dressed in their Easter attire. But, I must confess, serious attire and serious celebration does not mean serious disposition as you can see in this pic! We send our kids to the St. Dominic statue for time-out. Kidding! The contrast between gentlemanly threads and the usual sight of dusty wranglers or sweaty athletic apparel is a sight so special only a mother can appreciate its delight. I consider it an Easter miracle that they all managed to remain dressed during church (it's oh so tempting to loosen those ties and abandon those sport coats!) and (praise the Lord) no one snuck out the door and into the suburban with white sport socks on!
I love diving into the journey of Lent leading to Easter, the mystery and intensity of God's love for us made visible through Christ's passion, death and resurrection, and the beauty of the liturgical experience at Holy Mass throughout the Triduum.
I love contemplating the beautiful courage and strength of Our Lady. Her journey alongside Christ from humble birth to sorrowful death is one to embrace in our own times of suffering. Knowing that she stands beside her Son in heaven, and in loving adoration prays for all of us to know and love his Most Sacred Heart more deeply is a sure comfort.
I love how nearly every Good Friday that I can remember the weather has been overcast and cloudy with a moon hanging heavy in the sky weaving in and out of clouds sheer grey. And, then, the sunshine of Easter Sunday illuminating everything new - flowers in bloom, buds bursting from tree limbs, the sparkle in the eyes of the children, the shine on their new shoes, the hope in our hearts as we sing "Hallelujah, He is risen!"
I love seeing other parents gently folding their own children into the faith, into the outstretched arms of Christ. Those parents who give of themselves through time and thoughtfulness to teach in simple and incredibly creative ways inspire me to give more, to yearn more for a deeper Lenten and Easter experience with my own family.
That gift, the gift of knowing God as Father, and trusting Him to father us as parents and allowing Him to Father our children is THE gift we give our family this Easter. When we show them that Christ's love is bigger than the bunny we show them truth, we show them a glimmer of heaven.
I love how merciful God is, how infinitely wise and patient he is, providing these opportunities - Christmas, Easter and other celebratory feast days so sweetly spaced throughout the year for me to reexamine my life, to reevaluate everything, to receive the grace so desperately needed to gather the little bit of courage I have tucked inside so as not to give up, or become complaisant, lukewarm or content in my relationship with Christ. The courage to press on toward heaven, and to live every day in relationship to Easter, to the cross, to the resurrection, to His triumphant reign in Heaven and in my heart.
Finally, I LOVE the celebration we have so often enjoyed with family and friends on Easter Sunday. Everything - the food, the wine, the thoughtfully crafted decorations, the freshness of laughter and fullness of spirit, the captivating smiles and roaring energy of the mini-ones, running around the yard with chocolate stained shirts and sticky grins. It's a big yummy day in so many ways for all of us!
While Charles reveled in the discovery of freshly cut grass....
The older kiddos savored the day's beauty around a campfire they insisted on building themselves.
So, build they did, and stories did they share and smoke did they smell of, and memories did they make.
"Mom, we need more snacks." "Okay!" I say, offering him armloads of crackers and chips and absolutely nothing healthy or void of artificial coloring or flavoring. "Hey Hen, take it easy on the candy," I preach. "It's getting close to bed-time." "Mom, I already know dat!" he says as he moseys away with his loot, chocolate wrappers stuck to the bottom of his boots.
Perfect. Absolutely perfect.
~ Happy Easter! ~
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."
St. John Chrysostom - Paschal Sermon