This year Easter is on April 24th. You may be far from family and old friends but as Easter approaches, we encourage you to implement the traditions that you've established for this holiday. Familiar traditions will help provide you and your family with a sense of continuity and stability in the midst of change.
Do you have special Easter items that are still packed away? Locate your holiday boxes and unpack them. This step is important to moving forward with this new stage in life and will help bring familiarity into your new home.
Are you looking to add some new Easter traditions? This month's Tips for Moving on are some fun Easter ideas for you and your family. They also provide a great opportunity for you to invite another person or family to join you.
•Easter wreath. Create a wreath for your front door using silk spring flowers, colorful ribbons, and symbols of Holy Week attached to it.
•Easter devotions. Acquire an Easter devotional to use during Holy Week with your family. Your new church may provide one for you. (If you do not have a church home, we encourage you to find one during this special season.) Christian bookstores are a good resource to check for a devotional.
•Make homemade treats. Pretzels originated as a Lenten treat! Some say the twisted center is arms crossed in prayer. A traditional Hot Cross bun has long been a symbol of Good Friday. Today they are sold in bake shops and supermarket bakeries throughout the Easter season. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion.
•Egg decorating kit. Provide all kinds of decorations for kids to use while decorating their Easter eggs: egg dye kit, crayons, stickers, glitter glue, markers.... your imagination sets the limit! For Christians of the Near East, the Easter egg represented the tomb from which Jesus broke forth. They were often colored red to symbolize the blood of Christ by which all believers were given a share in the new life of Christ.
•Easter egg messages. Before dying the hard-boiled eggs, use crayons to draw pictures or write phrases like "He is Risen" or "Hallelujah" on each egg. Because the dye cannot adhere to the egg through the crayon wax, the message will be easy to read.
•The cave and the stone. Provide a hands-on image of the boulder miraculously rolling away from the entrance to Jesus' tomb. Let your kids craft a small pot out of clay. Lay the pot on its side and allow to dry. Ask the kids to find a rock large enough to conceal the opening of this pot. Discuss with them how Jesus was placed in a tomb that was sealed by a large rock. Or, if they know the story, allow them to tell it to you. Discuss how only an act of God could put the guards to sleep and move this big stone that guarded the grave. On Easter, replace the rock with flowers and celebrate the resurrection. Read together: John 20:1-3, 5-8
•Gift of service. Reflect Jesus' love and extend it to others by visiting the sick and the elderly or by serving at a homeless shelter.
•Celebrate your baptism. The connection between baptism and Easter can be traced to the church's first centuries. During this time the whole of Lent was not only a time of penance but also when people were prepared for baptism, which was given only once a year at Easter. Do you remember when you or your children were baptized? Discuss this event with your kids and show them photos of their baptism if you have them. Light a candle to commemorate the event.
•Celebrate with neighbors. Invite your neighbors over for Easter dinner or have a potluck.
•Neighborhood parade. Organize an Easter parade and egg hunt for the children in your neighborhood. Provide items for kids to decorate their bikes and have a bike parade. During the Middle Ages in Europe, people in their new Easter clothes would take a long walk after Easter Mass. This was a kind of procession preceded by a crucifix of the Easter Candle. The tradition evolved into Easter Parades.
•Conversation starters. Along with candy treats, place small symbols of the Holy Week inside plastic eggs for your children to find. What a great way to talk about Christ with your children.
•Celebrate the resurrection. Attend a sunrise service on Easter Sunday.