Easter is almost here and kids are excited because the Easter Bunny is preparing them baskets of candy and stuffing eggs to hide in their yards. With all this fun, sometimes it’s hard for parents to uphold the true meaning of religious holidays. Though it’s fine to celebrate spring’s biggest holiday with marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies, we must be dutiful in attending Mass and other religious services, fasting, praying and focusing our attention on the great miracle of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Here are a few ways we can exercise our faith and have a little Easter fun.
- Host a Resurrection egg hunt
On Palm Sunday, one of our catechists held a unique egg hunt in our church hall. Rather than looking for M&Ms and Skittles, the preschoolers and kindergarteners opened their eggs to find six symbolic items from the Gospel, such as a bread crumb to represent the Last Supper, a rock to represent the stone placed before Jesus’ tomb, and, of course, candy, “the sweet surprise of Easter.” (You can find out more on the picture below.)
- Enjoy chocolate crosses
Many local chocolatiers sell crosses made of milk and dark chocolate. There are mixed feelings about how appropriate it is to consume a sacred object in candy form, but when you think about it, a chocolate cross, like an Advent calendar, is a tangible and enjoyable reminder of the true meaning of the holiday. There’s nothing wrong with chocolate bunnies, but seeing a cross tucked into an Easter basket brings the focus of the holiday back to Jesus.
- Visit with baby animals
A certain sign of spring is the birth of baby animals. I live in the country and many of my friends raise animals on their farms. I love to see pictures of their chicks, kids, calves, foals, and crias (the official name of baby llamas and alpacas). This is the season in which we celebrate new life, so why not experience it firsthand?
- Escape to a majestic garden
When the bleakness of winter begins to fade and temperatures increase, God remind us of the promise of His love. “Out of darkness, light.” In Spring, plants are rejuvenated and the gray world is green once more. The fragrance in the air is sweet, as are the calls of songbirds who are busy building homes for themselves. Flowers poke up from the earth or dangle from trees in warm shades and bright white. Everything looks as though God dabbed His paintbrush all over Creation. You can witness it yourself by visiting a local park or a garden destination, such as Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore, Ladew Topiary Gardens in Harford County, or Longwood Gardens a short drive over the Pennsylvania line.
- Watch “Jesus Christ Superstar”
My mom used to set up a TV and VCR in the living room of Good Friday when I was growing up so that we could watch “Jesus Christ Superstar.” It was a meaningful way for us as children to grasp Jesus’ final days. We would walk around singing the songs for weeks. You can even listen to them on streaming audio, such as Google Play. Moving images and spoken words are simple ways to send a message to children and even to adults who need a visual reminder of what Jesus Christ has done for us.
Whatever you decide to do, take some time to remember the true meaning of Easter while enjoying the many blessings of this glorious season.