I had one of the best Easters ever today, and I credit 60% of it to Lent. (The other 40% came from finally having a little girl to dress up and photograph in bluebonnets.)
But bluebonnet pics can come later (or elsewhere, if you’re on Facebook); this is a post about Lent. For me, Easter Sunday usually arrives on the scene like a jack-in-the-box. It’s springtime, so I know it’s coming, but somehow I still end up looking at the calendar and saying, “Wait, next Sunday is Easter? I need to go shopping!” and maybe I toss some colorful plastic eggs into a basket on the table for an impromptu centerpiece.
But not this year! I started counting down to Easter forty days ago, and I’ve been regularly looking at the calendar, checking off the weeks and keeping count of how many more are left. I only gave up Dr. Pepper, which in the scope of things is not even that big of a deal, but even this tiny change in my routine, this tiny gesture of self-denial helped me to focus my anticipation on the upcoming holiday.
At Christmas time, I listen to music and decorate my house and shop for gifts way in advance, so that I’m beside myself with excitement by the time December 25 actually rolls around. As a Christian, Easter is an even more important holiday, theologically speaking, and I’ve felt like it has been right to have a season to build up to that day as well. This year, Lent/the Easter season was mostly mental. But since I thought of the Christmas comparison, I’ve gotten excited brainstorming about how I can make next year’s Easter into a bigger deal for our family with decorations and traditions.
We don’t have Holy Week services at our church, so on Maundy Thursday we went to another local church’s Passover/Seder celebration. I’d love to go back next year, and maybe check out at least one additional service. I’m also going to see what I can find in the way of purple decorations, in addition to the more traditional bunnies and eggs (should be on sale at Hobby Lobby now, right?). We’ll definitely dye some hard-boiled eggs, and we’ll attend the Annual Watson Egg Hunt. I plan to copy some other ideas I’ve seen done this year: My sister-in-law decorated spring-shaped cookies with her kids, and my friend Katie did some fun crafts with her kids on Palm Sunday.
That’s my start, and here is where you come in, experienced moms and thoughful friends: what are some Easter traditions that are important to you and your families?