What does Easter mean to you?

by Kimberly Barry

What does Easter mean to you? I can tell you what it means to me. Other than Christmas, Easter is my favorite holiday. Who am I kidding? I love ALL holidays. Easter has a special meaning though. We celebrate Easter because it is the day that Jesus rose from the grave. He loved us all so much that he was willing to die on the cross for our sins and by the grace of God, he was resurrected. Isn’t that amazing? I honestly can’t think of anything that tops that. Yep, nothing at all!

How do you celebrate Easter? Such a precious holiday should be celebrated and valued. Since I was a small child, Easter has been one of my favorite holidays. Every year my family would all gather at my Oma’s house. Everyone would be dressed in their Sunday best, which of course included the most ruffled dress that you could find, white dress shoes, socks with ruffles…basically ruffle overload and often an Easter hat for my younger cousins. The entire family would gather Oma’s house and talk about whatever was going on in life at the time. The house would be packed and filled with laughter from the children, often paired with the adults talking over the kids, asking them to stop running in the house and to go outside and play. The only worry, at the moment, was how many hard boiled, multi colored eggs there were total, and figuring out how many each child could find. This was often followed by jokes of the previous year and how there was always left-over eggs that went unfound until they started to stink in the yard. After eating a yummy meal including basically every side that you can think of, the adults would sit at one end of the table while the kids sat at the other. My cousins and I would alternate trying to roast little sausages on a fork over the flame of the candle, without the adults noticing, but always getting caught. Now that I think about it, I sure am glad that we didn’t burn my Oma’s house down. After asking ten zillion times if it was time to have the egg hunt, the adults would go outside and hide the eggs along with our Easter baskets. The rule was that you were not allowed to pick up any eggs until you find your basket. I remember my oldest cousin often playing jokes on us and hiding our baskets where it was nearly impossible to reach. After jumping, climbing and possibly a few tears over not being able to reach the baskets, we were on the hunt. My cousins and I were so competitive (for those that know me well, know that has not changed), we would race to see who could find the most eggs. After finding all the eggs (which inevitably, was never ALL the eggs) the entire family would gather back in the kitchen and living room laughing, talking, cracking open Easter eggs around the trash can and eating the good candy out of the baskets first. I vividly remember every detail like it was yesterday.

I wish I could have one more Easter with my Oma. I know that one day my entire family will celebrate together again.  My Oma has been gone for several years now. Although family dynamics have drastically changed, a few things remain the same, my love for God, holiday traditions and my family. Now that I am a mother and have a family of my own, my goal is to make holidays, especially Easter, filled with love, traditions and memories that can never be taken away. Now my Dad’s house is the house my children, nephew’s and extended family gather. We go to church and spend time worshiping God. My Dad spends all day (and sometimes the night before) cooking. He lets us sample a bite, followed by sneaking a few more samples. Sorry guys but nobody can fry a turkey or smoke a Boston Butt like my Dad. We laugh, worship, eat and create memories with the children that include an Easter egg hunt in my dad’s yard and of course a super competitive adult Easter egg hunt too (that of course I win, just don’t ask my siblings).

When I think about my children, I think about the verse, Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. I hope and pray that the values, morals and traditions that I am teaching my daughters will pass down to many generations. I pray that one day (many, many, many years from now), I have grandchildren running around my house, the halls filled with laughter, sticky jelly bean fingers opening and closing doors, full bellies and hearts filled with Jesus. Take the time today to create memories. Do not let the days pass you by. Live each day by the will of God and lead others with you.

Pray this prayer: Dear God, thank you for your everlasting and unconditional love. Thank you for allowing me the time to fellowship and create memories with my family and friends. Please do not let me take the days for granted. For each day is a blessing from you. Thank you, God, for each and every day. In your name, I pray, Amen.