Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter memories

Wrinkling our noses at the pungent vinegar smell, we four kids dipped white eggs into egg-dye water in Mom’s teacups lining the center of the kitchen table. When we were little, we probably knelt on chairs to reach and fought over whose turn it was to use the copper wire dipper. When we were older, we probably had more of a team spirit, taking turns with dipper, wax decorating pencil, and chick and bunny stickers. But at all ages, we were excited to prepare for the egg hunt Easter morning.

Meanwhile, Mom sewed new Easter dresses for us girls. She took us shopping for pretty hats. We sang along with her, “In My Easter Bonnet” around the house. On Easter Sunday, Dad lined us up in front of the house in our new finery for the obligatory Easter photo. As pretty as those flowery hats were, when I was a teen, I scowled to have to wear them. And white gloves.

I loved Easter egg hunts. The pastel woven baskets were so pretty, and one was just for me. We knew all Mom’s favorite hiding places—on windowsills, behind pillows, above picture frames. Before returning my found eggs to be refrigerated, while they were in my basket, I loved to look at them in all their purple- and pink-spattered beauty. Mom always put chocolate eggs and rabbits in each basket, too. Oh, chocolate eggs! Then came jelly bean trades among us kids—I would trade any of my flavors for their licorice jelly beans. Some years, after all the eggs had been found and counted, we’d cover our eyes while a designated “Easter Bunny” re-hid all the eggs so we could have the fun of the hunt again.

I do not recall much connection between colorful eggs and chocolate candy and Resurrection Sunday back then. My family church’s deep purple draping on the cross was exchanged for brilliant white. The church itself did not smell any more or less like incense and melted candle wax, save fragrant pots of tall white lilies at the altar’s base. That Jesus had risen from the dead I believed to be miraculous, but not personal. Easter’s true celebration was almost incidental to the fun of Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts.

Decades later, when I realized I had spilled way more than egg dye on my life, and those spills could not be wiped clean with a dishcloth—they needed forgiveness by a divine Savior—I came to see the incomprehensibly humbling glory of Jesus’ death and resurrection … for me. Now I’ve flipped Easter priorities—celebrating and loving Jesus back come first, colorful eggs second.

Shhh … don’t tell anyone, but early tomorrow, after I sing Easter thanks and praises to my Jesus, I may casually peek behind the curtains just in case my husband has hidden any of the eggs we dyed today.  

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

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