Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Tidings

He is not here, but he has been raised

~Luke 24:6

This has been our second Easter in the east, a feast day without all our family present for such an occasion. Snow was in the forecast again, the fifth day in a row already with a sugar coated white dusting in the fields and on the treetops, and continued warnings for snow squalls the day before had all of us wondering if we would get to church this day.

Snow on Easter Sunday

Waking up to a climate likened to winter when it’s been already pronounced an official beginning to spring, we were thrown off for a bit, always remembering how much warmer it has been over the years during the same time.

Jogging our memories to this same time last year, we recall much snow in early April when the moving truck arrived to unload in the driveway, though we also recall having a splendid sunny Easter morning with a crisp morning air, though a blue sky and warmth by the noon hour. This year however, there would be no such thing, as we prepared to travel to church in our winter woolen jackets to stay warm. It was tempting to grab a pair of gloves as well, and the thought of winter boots was a passing idea.

It is always a gift to all the senses when entering the church after observing the season of Lent, seeing the altar filled with beautiful flowers, the new Paschal candle from the Easter Vigil present, the purple shrouds gone, lovely white lilies surrounding filling the air with a lovely scent and the waft scent of incense.

The hidden “Alleluia” reappears in the liturgy, the bells ring sending their instrumental praise straight to heaven for this is the day Our Lord has promised to us, with Him rising from the dead where he has many rooms in his mansion for the future secured for us all. A deep sense of gratitude and excitement seem to fill the air, as parishioners and their families file into the pews, a special adoration at the beginning of a new time within the liturgical calendar commencing.

Spring flowers

As is the usual tradition, we weren’t able to attend the Easter vigil the night before, so the church is less crowded, many babies sounding their shrieks of morning laughter gathering many smiles from our children back to them. Yes, it is the time to reflect on the gift of new life, whether in the form of these happy and sweet wee babes within the parish pews, the chickens, rabbits, or for certain, those infamous decorated or colored eggs present in our homes and the world around us, representing the Hallmark thought of spring and Eastertide. Of course too, the dreamy thrill of having some chocolate again after the Lenten season fills my heart with a pleasant ideal…laugh.

Country folks with decorated trees

Driving to church I broke out into our usual hint for the singsong of “Jesus Christ is risen today”, a family standard to break out into a chorus shortly before our breakfast brunch altogether. Driving home later on, we noted how quiet the roads were, the décor of country homes outside with trees filled with assorted eggs hanging from their branches, and smiles on passersby’s faces.

Our Easter brunch is on the way...

Once home, we all gathered for the morning delegation of meal preparation chores. This year was to be simpler; coffee to begin with, orange juice to prepare, grapefruits halved and cut up, scrambled eggs with chopped green onions to sit upon a single toasted piece of bread.

Sizzle, sizzle

The smell of bacon sizzling in the pan was beginning to attract hungry children around the kitchen, hoping to eat very soon, though we did indulge in the very early morning hours by having a hot cross bun together to begin our day.

A Feasting time for everyone here this day!

As festive as we could possibly get, we had no spring foliage outdoors to gather for making our table egg tree this year. For years and years, we had a forsythia bush outside of our front door, where I would snip off branches to place into a large vase filled with water. The yellow flowers would be perfect for hanging the children’s Lenten “pysanky decorated eggs” onto, the ones loaded with symbolism of the reason for the season. We also have other assorted eggs to represent “new life”, and table décor of our lord’s resurrection pictured. Of course too, chocolate eggs with colored foil outer layers fill the table with more color. This whole decorating tradition is usually accomplished late on the eve of Easter so in the morning, the children wake up to the burst of spring color all about in the kitchen, now knowing this is Easter Sunday and we shall celebrate!

A bittersweet look without spring buds to gather

It was a pitiful gathering of dead looking branches this year in the center of the table within the vase for some of the eggs to hang upon, but perhaps a bittersweet look, with both death and new life on the table just as the weekend held for a Christian.

There were no Easter baskets this year save for the ones the children used for their father’s famous traditional chocolate Easter egg hunt happening later in the afternoon, mostly as we had way too much on our minds for other things requiring our deep attentions soon to come.

Easy temptations

For "The hunt"... dozens and dozens of them!

The children were recipients of something else, glass mugs with bunnies for the younger two, larger glass mugs filled with more goodies for the older two; a change perhaps and loved them all before gobbling down many dozen eggs after the, once again, successful hunt. We’re hoping all the eggs were found, as in years passed there have been recovered chocolate eggs found many months later behind something on a bookshelf, with resounding belly laughs hooting over such a find.

What greater Feast is there in a year, than the Sunday of all Sundays?

This writing comes late after our trip to Chicago, which occurred Easter Monday, but in hindsight we hope your Easter was filled with the gift of family and friends, and the hope and promise it blesses all of us with.