The Tomb is Still Empty
This week is steeped in tradition. There are probably things your family always does during Holy Week. Whether it’s attending a service on either Wednesday or Thursday night, stations of the cross, or communion. Maybe it’s golfing on Good Friday. My Dad always does that. Maybe it’s getting together with family to color eggs. We all have things we love that we can’t do this year. It’s hard. I know people are suffering much more, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t stink that we can’t have a normal Easter.
But, maybe because it’s not normal, we have the opportunity to do something extraordinary with it. This Easter will be memorable not matter what, so let’s make sure the memories are good. Instead of focusing on all the things we missed, let’s choose to make it something we look back on with fondness. So, how do we make this week extraordinary?
There are many things we can still do.
I think we get in the mindset that everything is canceled. It’s not. We can do some of our favorite traditions and we can do them better than ever because we have more time.
1. Decorate Eggs
Sure, we can’t invite friends or family over, but we can still decorate eggs. And we have time to really do it up. Make a contest of it or try a new method like the ideas in this article from I Heart Arts n Crafts. No fancy kits required. Most of this stuff you’ll have at home. If not, just use the old food coloring and vinegar method. It worked just fine in the 80's, though your house may end up smelling like a fish and chips restaurant.
2. Hide Eggs
My sister and I have a very competitive egg hunt at my parents’ house each year. I’ll miss winning that. (I’m kidding. I’ve won only once in over a decade.) But I've never hunted eggs at our house, so that means all new hiding places for us and the kids. I remember my Grandma hiding a special egg that was painted gold. The person who found it got a special treat. I found it in the dryer in the basement. That was probably 35 years ago and I still remember like it was yesterday.
3. Give Gifts
I plan to order a few things online so my kids have something in their Easter baskets. Even if you don't want to buy anything, you can get creative. Last week my kids wanted to do a sort of Secret Santa that they called Bashful Bunny. They spent the week making sweet gifts for each other and they also passed down toys they weren’t using anymore. It felt like something I’ve read in Little Women or Little House on the Prairie, but they had a blast.
4. Get Dressed Up
There’s no reason not to get all fancy in your Sunday best for Easter. Ever since we started church online, I’ve insisted on everyone being out of their jammies before we start. It’s just a personal preference for me though I’d never judge those who enjoy doing church in P.J.’s. To me, it just feels more like real church if we’re not wearing bunny slippers. In the same vein, I feel like Easter Sunday won’t feel like Easter Sunday if we don’t dress up a little. Though the bunny slippers would be totally on theme. I hope people do dress up and take pictures just like always. I look forward to seeing them.
5. Make Good Food
Of course I’ll miss my Grandma’s corn and my mom’s rolls, but we can still have yummy food at home. If you have bored kids, get them involved. Have each kid help with one side dish. In our house we can (very literally) have too many Cooks in the kitchen, so delegating might really help.
There are new things we can do this year.
This is a unique Easter and we’d be remised if we didn’t use it to be a light for Jesus. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Spend time reading the Bible.
I don’t know about you, but being home has given me much more time in the word. I’m reading about the same amount, but my time isn’t rushed. I find myself taking time to meditate on the text. To notice things I never have before. I’ve had my struggles to be sure, but I would describe this time as one where I felt closer to God. Why not use this week to really explain the Easter story to our kids (no matter their age)? Get in the word daily as a family. There are so many ways to do this. If you have younger kids, maybe use these nine passages to tell the Easter story by Guideposts. If you have older kids, have each person read the Easter account from one of the gospels and then talk about them. Our kids are literally a captive audience this Easter. Let's use this opportunity to (lovingly) point them to Christ.
2. Invite a friend to church.
If you’ve faithfully attended church for a long time, you’ve probably heard Christians chide the “CE Christian” -those who show up on Christmas and Easter only. But have you ever considered the incredible courage it takes to show up to a church you don’t attend? How dressed up should I get? How early will I need to arrive? Will it be crowded? What will my children do during service? I feel anxious just thinking about it. Guess what? This year, those things won’t be a factor at all. Inviting someone to church is as easy as sharing a link with them. If you don’t have an online service, invite them to one of the thousands of others that are available. Take time to explain that you would have loved for them to be a guest with you in person, but that you still think the service will have something for them no matter where they are in their faith. Pray for them that they will encounter God. Follow up with them afterward. They can try a church service without all the pressure of showing up at a church.
3. Do something to show the love of Christ
There are people on your street who are in real need. We have an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of this situation. Reach out. Use social media and ask those in need to contact you. Maybe it’s a grocery run, or a meal delivered, maybe it’s just a FaceTime call for interaction. Let’s not get too busy doing “our holiday” that we forget what Jesus did for us and that we are His ambassadors on earth.
4. Make new traditions
This may be a good time to reassess our traditions. What things do we do because we’ve always done them and what things do we actual value? Maybe there are things we do that can get the axe. Whether it’s decorating the house or making a certain dish no one really eats, there are probably things we can let go of in order to start a new tradition. Try a prayer walk through the neighborhood or make an Easter memory book to add to each year. Try a new recipe or make a big Easter breakfast. (There's no big rush to get to church). Maybe these new traditions will stick and maybe they’ll just be fond memories from this Easter. Either way, this is a great time to try something new.
No matter the circumstance, the tomb is still empty. No virus, social distancing, or economy can change that fact. Jesus was dead and then he was alive. People need to know that maybe now more than ever. We can look back on this Easter and think of all the things we missed or we can look back and think of all the people who met Jesus. It’s worth every bit of sacrifice for me if people meet Jesus because that’s why I’m here on this earth -to worship Him and point people to Him. Let’s do this!