By Rick Houser –
As spring appears and Mother Nature’s plants awaken, I find that as the tulips bloom so also Easter blooms. It has for so long been a coincidence to me that the season of spring and the celebration of Easter just happened. Have any of you found that one day you discover something that has happened all your life doesn’t just happen but is an event we are to acknowledge and enjoy?
Most of my life Easter meant that we as Christians should attend church on Easter Sunday and give our thanks to our Savior for his sacrifice for us. As a little boy I went to church on Easter and got up in front of the church and recited a Bible verse that I had learned. This was the Sunday that I got a new suit coat and tie and even a new pair of shoes. The girls in the congregation got new dresses along with accessories, but other than that I don’t recall much in the explanation of the reasons for Easter.
The church would hold a sunrise service followed by a huge Easter morning breakfast. This was enjoyable to say the least but the down side was that it happened at sunrise. Yes, it was a pretty time of day but again no real explanation was detailed other than it was sunrise. (When you are a child, sunrise is a rough time to wake up and stay up.) But this was the way it happened and my guess is that was the way it had happened generations before I arrived.
I will admit that when the sun rises and the sun’s rays come through the Moscow Church of Christ stained glass windows very little is more beautiful or awesome to view. Even if you didn’t know the why, those beautiful windows reminded us all that something special was happening.
Time has passed and over the years Easter has changed. Along with the celebration of Easter have come items that I am not sure why or how they connect to the holiday. First of all why are there jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, or chocolate bunnies? I know Easter Egg hunts have gone on for a very long time but why do they have to be dyed eggs, hid and hunted?
Please don’t get me wrong because these things are all fun to do and mostly for children. I remember that as long as my Mom was able ,she would oversee her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews getting to dye hard-boiled eggs. She would buy a pack of egg-dye tablets that had to be dissolved in vinegar. She would use her pint peanut butter jars and fill them with a melted tablet in a jar of vinegar, each of a different color. She also made certain that an apron was on so no one would dye their clothes and cause a parent to get upset. What still comes to my mind is that I think my Mom enjoyed this event more than any of the children. Also to this day, when I smell vinegar I see colored eggs.
I guess looking back has now brought me to the present. As the days become longer and warmer ,we see that the earth becomes alive again with the colors of the rainbow displayed in the trees and the plants and flowers we see every day. As we look at these plants blooming, they are giving us a view of all the color we have available to us and what we see when we buy new clothes. Along with the world waking up, a feeling of happiness comes to us. I don’t think I ever really noticed that with each spring and its glorious appearance also arrives Easter and its very important message.
It finally came to me that we probably can’t have one without the other. As life returns to the world, we are given a visual that life came back to our Savior. We are so lucky and fortunate to have a Creator who blesses us with so much on this day and every day. To take a little time to pay respect to the largest gift is a very small price to pay back, so to me spring is just a way to enjoy Easter.
After Good Friday, the day we accept as the day of the crucifixion, to Easter Sunday, which is it the day of resurrection, the season and the event capture all the reasons for spring. I have read that Easter is when churches have their largest attendance of the entire year. This is because of its importance. So as the sun rises earlier, we have more time to make it to church and all the stores offer more Easter items to observe the day with so it looks like there is definitely less reason to not skip the church service.
It is safe to say that this is a religious holiday and also one intertwined with what probably can be the happiest of seasons. There will still be chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and marshmallow chicks for the kids to enjoy. The Easter eggs will probably be plastic as this is a new generation and the Easter baskets will be more plastic than woven, but the children I know won’t be seeing these items until after they have attended church. First things first of course, and if the Ohio weather is favorable going to church will be in short sleeve shirts and we will roll this day into one very great day to be alive and happy to celebrate Easter. I hope your day will be great also.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.