Okay, okay, okay...wait a minute. It's April??? It's Easter? Does anyone else feel like we just got done packing away the Christmas ornaments? (Oh wait, maybe that's my fault for having actually just packed away the last of the Christmas decor...)
Well, indeed, the hunt for eggs and all things pastel is upon us. This weekend is full of fun and joy for the Pardy clan. Coloring eggs, hiding/hunting them, getting dolled up in our Easter Sunday best, and gorging ourselves silly at brunch. He is Risen! He is Risen! Pass the ham, He is Risen!
I jest. While all of the above are true, certainly I can't let another holiday morph the original intention of what Jesus has done for us into some candy-covered-vinegar-dyed-chocolate-bunny-hopping-day-of-perpetual-gluttony. Heavens, no. (Though, I'll admit it is ridiculously cute that Matilda calls the Easter Bunny "Boing Boing"!) While I love that my girls get excited at the sight of petticoats and white patent leather shoes...I hope that they quickly learn the true meaning of Easter starts on Friday. "Good Friday." Followed by what I like to call "Even Better Sunday".
Good news! Good news! The stone has been rolled away! Jesus is no longer there, He is Risen! He is ALIVE!
As we read the Easter story to Matilda, I can see the wonder and confusion building in her brain as only a 2 year old can muster.
Death, life, angels.
Sadness, joy, excitement.
Church, bunnies, dress.
These must be the wheels that are turning inside that little head, and I can only pray (and repeat, repeat, repeat the story) that what sinks down into her heart is the truth, and not some distorted view that comes out something like "...and then The Easter Bunny rolled the stone away and Jesus brought us all candy!" which is probably closer to what she is actually thinking right now.
That's okay. Let it simmer. I'm the parent, not the Holy Spirit (can I get an AMEN!?) I can't force feed her the gospel message. (That's what vegetables are for.) I can't turn her little heart into a servant's longing or mold her soul into a soft, truth-seeker. But, I can trust God and I can love her something fierce and I can repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat (repeat) the truth to her like a broken record that never ends. And I can explain it to her the best I can. And I can believe it and live it myself each day, honestly and openly, and imperfectly (this last one I do very well!)
And I can do it all with joy and candy and white patent leather shoes too! Yes! Just like we do with Christmas and Halloween, the Pardys (hey, we're nothing if not celebratory, right?) embrace the fun right along with the truth. Afterall, God made the bunnies, and if they want to bring us candy in little eggs once a year, why, who am I to put a stop to that?
Besides, the Easter Bunny provides something else along with candy...a healthy dose of Stranger Danger. Yikes. We brought the girls to visit the Easter Bunny in the mall last weekend, and, as you can see by the classic photo...Matilda has her suspicions. Pay no attention to the man behind the bunny mask!
I'll admit, the giant bunny man is sort of creepy. But, when she saw him from a distance she LOVED him. Honestly, she was waving and blowing kisses and wanted to hug him...until it actually came time to hug him, then instinct set in and there wasn't enough candy in the world to get that girl up on his lap. Still, get two girls in matching Easter dresses and I don't care where they're sitting - they are going to be goshdarnCUTE.
So, Happy Easter from the Pardys. Eat your ham. Gnaw on some chocolate bunny ears. Take another handful of jelly beans. But, please, take a moment to stop at the cross. Remember how our Jesus took on our sins (whoa) and died and was buried. Gone. Dead. And then, conquered death on our behalf and rose again. ALIVE. The miracle of all miracles that keeps me waking up every morning able to breath and cry and love again.
Tell your children the good news. Again and again. I have faith it will one day sink in deeper than any chocolate bunny.
He is Risen!