As I sit here at 7:45 on this gorgeous Easter morning, my mind wanders back to Easters of years ago. When I was very young, my brother and two sisters and I had a routine. We would wake early and head downstairs, after Mom and Dad gave us permission, of course. We always got two baskets full of candy and little gifts that reminded us that spring was here—things like jump ropes and sidewalk chalk to make hopscotch squares for the girls, and baseball cards and other sports related stuff for my big brother. I remember the year he got the Snoopy and Woodstock Go Camping trash can for his room…I was so jealous!
After the hunt, we would get ready for church—we girls would dress in our new finery—white patent leather shoes, straw hats and little white bags, a new dress and cape (often lovingly made by my Grandmother). My brother would wear a suit jacket—he didn’t every Sunday, but always on Easter. We would head to Sunday School, where we would meet with our friends and talk about our Easter surprises, and then we would join our parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins for the Easter Morning Service. And what a joyous service it was—He Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The sanctuary was overflowing with the choirs, handbells, brass ensemble, friends, family, and the familiar Easter message.
After service we would walk down the street to my Nana and Pop-Pop’s house, where my cousins and siblings and I would go on another Easter basket hunt and have some dinner. I think it was probably ham, I don’t really remember, but I do remember the cake. My Mom would always make a white cake with white icing…and half would have coconut sprinkled on the top, and half would not (thankfully, because I don’t like coconut!) And on top of the white icing and coconut…jellybeans….in all the colors of the rainbow! I still make a white cake on Easter…probably always will.
As we got older, the routine changed some. We would go to the sunrise service and sing with the choirs and be rewarded with an enormous breakfast prepared by a crew that must have been up since 3 am! Sometimes I would come home from college and the choir director would just let me jump in and take my place with the sopranos. Sometimes we would just go to the later service. And the first few years I lived away from home, I may not have gone at all. But those Easters of my childhood remain in my heart and the memories flood back every time I sing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.”
Now I have a family of my own with traditions of our own. And although my boys range in age from 10 to 19, we still color eggs and wake early to hunt for our Easter treats. This year it will be things like movies and book, tshirts and music…and baseball cards, just like my brother! They’ll have candy for breakfast and then we’ll dress up and make our way to church where we will sing with joy and praise. And today, my youngest son, Grant, will take his first communion. Then we will come home and celebrate with white cake topped with jellybeans, and I will add one more memory to my very own Easter basket.