With Easter nearly upon us, it's got me thinking again about how to make this time special, memorable and meaningful.
In the middle of all the chocolate and bunnies, how do I help my kids get in touch with the deeper themes, create meaningful traditions, how can I pass on to them the richness of my faith, so that it becomes real to them?
As a mother this has been one of my many parenting dilemmas. I grew up as a 2nd generation Christian; I was immersed in Church culture, was even a pastor's kid for a while... I got to see plenty of the downside that goes hand in hand with the good (because after all Christians are humans).
I watched my parents do their best to live out their faith, making mistakes (of course) and errors of judgement, which us kids had to sometimes pay the price for. I struggled to find God in the midst of all of it.
I mean, it all made sense to me and I could see that God was real to lots of people around me; but it was like I hit a brick wall myself. It wasn't until my 20's that I finally began to find God as a personal reality, and my faith became a living thing.
The thought of my children repeating that frustrating journey frankly terrified me for a long time. It is my constant prayer that my kids will know not just stories about Jesus but will know the real Jesus in their own hearts... giving them peace, confidence and help through their own journeys and struggles. How do I pass on my faith to them in a real and meaningful way? It's a daunting task.
So Easter is a very important time.
My friend Linda attended a session at the Parenting Place which was all about creating great Easter traditions. She came over for coffee and told me some of what she learned, and there were some great ideas!
My favourite one we will be doing on Easter Sunday morning...
The plan is to get up early, when it's still dark. Bundle up warm and head off to a hill somewhere, with hot chocolate and Hot Cross Buns. Walk up the hill together, watch the sunrise while you eat the Buns and drink the Hot Chocolate; then read the Easter Story together.
I love it! I can imagine how mystical and magical it will feel to walk to the top of our local mountain together (from our car conveniently parked near the top of course!) To look over our city as it starts to wake up on Resurrection morning. To share the Old Story in that special place. I have stocked up on Buns and Hot Chocolate sachets. Now I just hope I can wake up in time!
The other thing we plan to do is a Theme Dinner tomorrow night (Thursday), which is the night before Good Friday. I am going to make diced Lamb with Pita pockets and salad (some Passover-ish food) We will have red wine, the kids red grape juice.
Me and Mr G are going to dress up as Mary Magdalene and the Apostle Peter and knock on the door to come as guests for dinner and tell the children the Easter story as if from our recollections. It should be fun, and very impromptu.
Of course, there is also a good supply of Easter Eggs stashed away in the cupboard for a good-ole Easter egg hunt as well! (because, in my view you can never have too much chocolate...)