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Short Stories for Teachers

Easter, a New Life Within (How my Family Celebrates Easter)
By:Francine Larson

Easter seems to have two different meanings in the mind of most people. There is the spiritual meaning of Jesus Christ rising from the dead, thus showing the world that death should not be feared if we believe in Him. Then, there is the other side that ignores the spiritual meaning and concentrates on Easter Bunnies, egg hunts and the traditional Easter ham and sweet potatoes dinner.

I would like to say that I do not know why you cannot have both meanings in your life. My opinion is that instead of being opposite, these two meanings are as one. Because of Christ and the spiritual meaning, I am free to be happy and celebrate the new life that Christ has promised. What is representative of new life more than baby chicks, eggs, rabbits and any of God’s wonderful creations? I can go to church and then come home and have an Easter egg hunt, Easter dinner with my family and wonder at the many creations of God.

In my mind, there is no way these two things can be opposite. They are all woven together like a perfect tapestry. What better way to explain to children the meaning of life, death, and afterlife than through our traditional rituals? Besides, I don’t think God is up there saying, “you should only go to church on Easter.” I like to think that He is a loving God with a sense of humor and smiling as we run around looking for Easter Eggs.

I have often wondered why this holiday has to be either or (the same for Christmas). Let us celebrate New Life through Christ with our family as we embark on this season of promise.

Easter also represents newness that can be created each day. Every day is new and if I have failed miserably one day, the next morning is a NEW DAY. We have all heard the adage; today is the first day of the rest of my life.

George Bernard Shaw, an Irish Playwright (1856-1950) said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself – life is about creating yourself.”

Tom Stoppard, a British playwright (b. 1937) wrote, “Every exit is an entry somewhere.”

Holy Bible, King James Version: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life. Romans 6:4

We certainly do have much to celebrate! Having said all of that, here are some of the fun things our family does at Easter:

This year our family will be celebrating in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Fortunately, all of my children and grandchildren live in Florida.

We always have a traditional dinner that includes ham and some of our other favorites. You may want to log on to Frannie’s Fine Recipes from the Heart, which is: http://mysite.verizon.net/reso4qht/franniesfinewordsfromtheheart/id26.html Sometimes we include the Creamy Squash Casserole, or Angel Biscuits. You can find both of these recipes on my site that I have mentioned above.

Most of the time, family members bring a favorite family side dish. For many years, we have included our famous bunny cake. Actually, it is from Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut. I found it on the Internet at: http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/easter/hiphop.htm (complete with a great picture).

We usually die eggs outside in the beautiful Florida sunshine. The weather is usually perfect this time of year. Everyone has to dye at least one egg – even the adults.

Besides real dyed eggs, I buy the plastic eggs and insert a prize. It can be money or a gift certificate or a promissory note to do something for another family member. Sometimes, I buy the scratch off lottery tickets for $1.00. I only buy a couple. (Lottery tickets are only for the adult hunt.) It is just a fun thing. What if someone actually won the lottery?

It is a tradition in our family, that after the children find the eggs; they then hide the eggs for the adults. By then, the children want us to hide the eggs again for them. I can’t think of a better way to participate in child’s play verses sending them out to hide and seek eggs by themselves.

Something else I started was the jelly-bean contest. Usually, you can find a large egg-shaped jar at a department store or craft shop. I will fill it with jellybeans after I count them. Everyone makes their guess (written) on the amount of jelly- beans the car contains. The winner is rewarded with the jar of jelly-beans.

We buy inexpensive prizes for the children. We make sure each child gets a prize. The prize is for finding the most eggs, the silliest egg, and the most unusual egg. Well, you get the idea. Every child needs to feel special and win!

One year, I made matching white lacey dresses for our four daughters. Each dress had a different color ribbon around the waist. I thought they looked so adorable and wrote a poem to express just that:

Easter’s Promise

Little Easter beauties
Dressed up in white.
Big delightful smiles;
Oh, what a precious sight.

Little hands waiting
To capture the Easter Eggs
And run through the
Grassy yard with racing legs.

Baskets filled with jelly beans
And a chocolate bunny
Are eaten by little girls
As the spring day promises to be sunny.

Since Easter means new life,
There’s nothing more fitting
Than seeing you created by God
A beautiful picture from where I am sitting.

Our Easter celebrations are so unusual that my daughter received a phone call from her sister-in-law in California. It seems she wants to come to Florida for Easter with her six year old daughter, Sydney. In her words, she wants Sydney to experience an old-fashioned Easter within a family setting. We will not disappoint Sydney.

Francine Larson

Has an AA Degree From St Petersburg College. Taught Nursery School, Children’s Choir, Paraprofessional for First Grade.

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