Watching The Passion Live through the streets of New Orleans got me to thinking about family traditions. South Louisiana was my home during my teen through my young-married years. The creativity had me glued to my seat throughout and I eagerly downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes midway through.
I don’t remember much of Easter Sunday as a child. My parents were very active as Sunday school teachers in our local church until their divorce when I was 10. In my teen years we engaged in a wild Easter egg hunt with a money egg, ate ham, made multi-colored egg salad, and a basket of beautifully painted ceramic eggs decorated the center of our family table.
When Baby Girl and #1 Son were little people, our Easter celebrations centered around an all-day church day with food, dressy clothes, fantastic music, and lots of kids in Sunday school as we lived in New England. By the middle elementary years, we were in the Atlanta area and we joined a church that celebrated a season of Lent in addition to Resurrection Sunday. We began a new family tradition of attending the Sunrise service in the parking lot on our own lawn chairs with hot chocolate. The adults didn’t dress up and most of the kids were still in pajamas. It was intimate. It was different. It was powerful. We sang the same songs every year and huddled under blankets to keep warm. The message was delivered by a lay person who has now answered the call into full time professional ministry and leads a spirit-filled church about 20 minutes away. Frankly, that sunrise service was the most uncomfortable service of the year… we remembered it….and we loved it.
Serving on a local church staff, there are now multiple services. Lots of planning. Lots of flowers. Lots of greenery. Lots of beautiful music and lots of preparation for church guests and church family. But it’s the Sunrise service that makes my Resurrection celebration. Now I’m the one to stop at the Quick Trip to fill the pump carafes with hot chocolate (just a few dollars to fill each one), roll a cart with sleeves of Styrofoam cups and paper towels to the outdoor site. People walking their dogs, stop and take a seat. We sing. We shiver in the cold. We hear the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
What are your Easter Family traditions?
“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'” John 20:21