Published in the Charleston Gazette today, April 24, 2011
My daughter recently wrote to tell me that she'd been thinking about how special Easter was when she was a child. She particularly remembers the new outfits she and each of her siblings got for Easter morning. "We'd shop for weeks to find just exactly the right outfit," she said. "We got new clothes from the skin out!"
Times have certainly changed! Nowadays, the jeans and tennis shoes worn every day are fine, in most cases, for that special Sunday morning. In some ways, the change is good. Today's relaxed mode of dress is an equalizer. No child has to feel he can't go to church or Sunday school on Easter because his parents can't afford to buy him a new outfit.
How exciting Easter is for children! It's second only to Christmas as the most fun holiday of the year. They delight in helping their mothers dye eggs -- watching them slowly change from white to the beautiful pastel colors of springtime is awesome. They look forward to finding baskets full of chocolate bunnies and assorted goodies when they awaken on Easter morning, and the Easter egg hunts that follow are especially fun. My kids used to hide their eggs for days after the holiday. I'd finally make them throw them away after the shells were cracked and the eggs were beginning to spoil.
While it's natural for children to think about the things that make a holiday fun, most of them learn the true meaning of Easter at a young age. But some get confused. One Easter at our church, the pastor was relating the Easter story to a group of small children. After explaining about the crucifixion, he said, "On the third day, two women went to the tomb and the stone had been moved away. They looked inside and what do you think they saw?"
"Easter Bunny!" a little boy bellowed. The congregation burst into laughter and the pastor, speechless for a few seconds, finally said, "You never know what they're going to say."
It's hard to predict what children will say or do -- or what will make a lasting impact on them. I had no idea, until recently, that my eldest daughter, now grown, still remembers how special it made her feel to get all-new clothes for Easter or how grown up she felt walking into church on Easter morning dressed in her new finery. As her mother, it warms my heart to know that she has such delightful childhood memories of Easter.
This picture of my boys didn't find room in this newspaper article, but they were very handsome in their Easter outfits, too!