Several weeks ago, I got asked to submit a paragraph about our Easter tradition. I immediately sent a text to the girls (we have a big family group text message happening), and they responded like this....
Samantha: "We always go to church."
Whitney: "We also eat lamb... that's sort of symbolic."
Samantha: "bunny rolls."
Samantha: "I just spent the last five minutes thinking I had found the perfect apartment of Whitney and me next year, but I was actually looking at a senior living community."
We clearly don't stay on topic very well.....
As I contemplated the request, I replied in this manner, "I'm sorry, but I can’t write something because we don’t do anything except focus on Christ. We don’t do anything special. I had huge discussions with my children about this. We don’t do Easter baskets or dresses. We don’t do fancy empty tomb cookies, etc. We spend extra time talking to the children about the Savior and watching the Church produced presentations about the atonement/crucifixion (which we probably only watch at Easter because it’s hard to see). We have tried to make the focus only on Christ without all the fuss. I can write about that, but I don’t know how inspiring it is."
The response I received was "write it."
"As we sat around the kitchen table many years ago, I asked, “Who can tell me what Easter is all about?” Our young children enthusiastically replied, “Bunnies.” “Baskets.” “Candy.” “Easter dresses.” Not one of our precious little people said, “The Savior.” I knew from that point on, our Easter tradition would have to change. I researched books and websites for the perfect Christ centered traditions, only to come away feeling empty and overwhelmed.
As I thought about our growing family and the desires of my heart, I felt the quiet promptings of the spirit whisper to focus on Christ and keep things simple. It was my “Mary moment.” See I love Martha and am so well acquainted with her. I live her life, but the Lord is quietly trying to teach me to be more like Mary. So I put away all the grand plans and on Easter we pulled out the scriptures and focused on the Savior.
As the years have come and gone and more children being added to our family we have found added peace and blessings from our simple tradition. Our children share insights and growing testimonies of the Savior. Occasionally one of the children will suggest watching the video presentation about the Crucifixion of Jesus. Tears will be shed, and a greater appreciation of all that He endured for each of us individually will fill our hearts.
Occasionally I worry and let doubt and comparison creep into my heart as I see all the amazing things that other families do, but then I remember I’m trying to be more like Mary. “I love Jesus. He is my best friend” one of the younger children will say and I know that our Easter Sabbaths are exactly as they should be: focused on the Savior.”
I agonized over my little-written portion. I didn't want to write something that would make someone feel bad because they do elaborate wonderful things for Easter. I love seeing the beautiful things people do, but our lives are so full that I crave simplicity. My son tells me I'm a hypocrite because of everything I do, and I suppose I am, but I am trying in my small, flawed way.
I am pulled so many different ways. I am constantly re-evaluating my priorities and the things I need to accomplish verses things I want to accomplish. Prayer and supplication are always part of that mix. Time is never wasted in the service of our Savior; that is what I hope my children will learn. Small things make a difference in people's lives, doing good, remembering and valuing the individual. I have appreciated that added time focusing on the Savior this past week. Thinking about what He would have me do and say.
I have also enjoyed participating in another Easter campaign at Mormon.org/easter. The initial video is so lovely, and the printed geotag (I think that is what it's called) was a fun and quick activity. It made me think about the different places in my life that where I find the influence of Jesus Christ: my home, church, blogging, writing letters, studying and writing our histories, prayer, the scriptures, the temple.
He is in every facet of my life.
As we, the family, have been reading about the Savior's final week on earth this past week. We have added watching small video clips portraying Christ's life each day. Some nights it's peaceful and filled with thoughtful reflection. Other nights it's chaos and contention fills our home, but despite the imperfect moments, it's always beautiful. Last night as we watched the video about the Garden of Gethsemane, Tank looked over and whispered that he hated this part thinking about the specific sins he added to Christ's suffering. I expect tears tonight as we watch the crucifixion, mine for sure.
You can see the Bible videos about Jesus Christ here; they are free.
As I reflect in greater detail on the Savior this Holy Week, I am humbled by the knowledge I have of His life and ministry. I will never be able to adequately express the feelings of my heart for my Savior and Redeemer. They don't seem to be big enough or strong enough. It is inadequate.
But how I love Him.
He is my peace, my hope, my all. He fills my soul with strength and joy. I am never alone. We are never alone because He is with us. He is our advocate, our comforter, our light. We are not lost because He lives.
I add my witness of His divinity, His life, and atoning sacrifice for each of us.