For many, the typical Easter week/weekend consists of experiencing Holy Week together with other believers, maybe an additional special service hosted by your church on Friday, coloring eggs with loved ones, hunting eggs, whether with your community or family and friends, and you can't forget the traditional Sunday Easter service, dressed in your best, followed by dinner gathered with your entire family.
But this Easter, family gatherings were put on hold, egg dying happened by yourself, or maybe you had an egg coloring party via Zoom/FaceTime; some families dressed up to snap a few pictures, then spent their church service snuggled up on the couch in their pj's to experience church as a family as they watched their pastor's deliver the message from a laptop, phone or tv.
There were a lot of things that were different this Easter, but one thing that didn't change, was the Gospel - Jesus still conquered death. Satan still lost. The Victory is still won. The grave is still empty. And God is still on the throne.
As believers in Christ, we all know Easter is more than just colorful eggs, good food and time spent with family. We know it is more than the pretty dresses and handsome vests, all matching in unity. We know it is more than the commercialized aspect of fun, Easter baskets filled with goodies. But that doesn't take away from the sadness you may have felt this Easter as your plans and traditions were put to a stop or had to be drastically changed due to the pandemic happening around us. It's okay to feel sad about not getting to meet up with your extended family and hunt eggs while eating a smorgasbord of food. It's okay to be sad that you didn't get to experience your Easter church service at the physical building, greeting your brothers and sisters in Christ, embracing them with hugs.
It's okay to grieve those things, it is sad. But what we can't do is let our grief over our fleshly desires consume or rob us of experiencing our grief, remembrance and celebration of the reason Easter exists, which is for our Risen Savior.
I'm preaching to myself when I say this. I had fun plans, too. But after a long day full of Braxton hicks and a toddler with a lot of emotions, we didn't do any of the "traditional Easter" stuff - no egg hunting, no cute pictures in our dresses, no baking, no egg coloring. Instead, I ended up sitting on the couch watching Trolls, eating homemade Rice Krispie treats with my husband and daughter - completely exhausted, but fully content with our Saturday night before Easter Sunday.
Kinsley and I woke up Sunday morning both in much better moods, ready to bake some Resurrection rolls, hunt some plastic, candy filled eggs and have our online/at home church service - which is just what we did. It was a slow morning filled with quiche + coffee, listening in to our church service, Wes leading Kinsley in her bible story and craft time, while we snacked on the Resurrection rolls and explained the story behind them. These rolls are perfect for little ones because it's such a simple and straightforward explanation of how the body of Jesus was put inside the tomb, but after opening the tomb (3 days later) the tomb is empty, because "Jesus is alive!" And to our surprise, this visual really stuck with her, plus they're a tasty little treat, too, that are super easy to prep + make.
Even though she was still to small to remember, last year I had put together a fun, little Easter basket with some practical items for her. Between COVID19 and being 37 weeks pregnant though this year, the "fun basket" didn't happen. Instead I ordered her a $2 plastic bucket from Target along with some .98 plastic eggs that we filled up with candy that we bought last minute. I didn't feel too terrible about it, simply because I know she doesn't really know the difference and to her, as long as she gets candy, she's satisfied.
However, this morning, on our door step was an adorable little, customized Easter basket that our neighbors had left for her. Her little face lit up as soon as she saw it and has played with every single thing that was in that bucket - which just goes to show you that social distancing doesn't mean you can't still show kindness to people.
We may not have got to gather with our families for a big dinner, but that didn't stop us from having our traditional ham, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls and of course, deviled eggs for lunch. My husband absolutely hates deviled eggs, but Kinsley and I love them! And with my pregnancy cravings, I wasn't about to miss out on an excuse to make them.
Since it basically poured all day, after nap time, we spent the hour or so that it actually wasn't raining, splashing around in the mud puddles. As soon as her rain boots hit the first puddle, she called to me, "Welcome to my show! Come take my picture, mom!"
This kid. She's literally a mini version of my husband in every possible way.
We ended the evening with a video chat to her Nonnie + Pops, as she showed them every possible thing she owned in her bedroom, funny face filters and telling them at least 10x to watch her as she danced and twirled in her dress.
Easter wasn't the same as past years, but it was still good, because He is still good.
Happy Easter, friends.