Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smith: Show some love for Easter

April 21, 2011

Happy Easter! While this is the most important week in Christianity it receives scant attention from much of the public.

Unlike Christmas, which seems to build extreme interest and enthusiasm as the days move toward Dec. 25. Easter, like the Resurrection, seems to come silently and with little fanfare. Yet the promise of Easter is the basis of all Christianity and the hope of eternal life.

Easter is unique in that the date changes every year. Observance of Easter dates to the early days of Christianity. There was considerable angry debate between the Eastern and Western branches of the church concerning the exact date for the event. Finally, the Council of Nicaea said the observance of Easter would be observed on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

The date can move from March to late April, which sometimes results in weather woes. I have seen Easter Sundays with the temperature in the 80s. Then, there have been Easter snowstorms. I have been part of Easter egg hunts that had to be postponed a couple of times due to inclement weather. To me one of the nicest facets of Easter is that the grass is greening and daffodils and other flowers are starting to bloom. No matter when Easter is observed, there is always the promise summer and warmer weather lie ahead.

Looking back over the seven plus decades of my life, I have some wonderful memories of Easter celebrations. The only tradition from my childhood that I remember is dressing up for church and then before we left, my sister and I had our photo taken. It was taken at the same location on our porch, so I can follow our growth. Of course, we always attended church every Easter Sunday.

One tradition I have always enjoyed is Easter eggs. I love hard-boiled eggs! You can find a variety of theories about the origin of the Easter egg. Some say it comes as a symbol of life. In some ancient cultures giving an egg as a gift was a sign of friendship. I could list a dozen other theories, but what is important is the amount fun I’ve had coloring eggs with my children and grandchildren and the pure pleasure of devouring a boiled egg. Certainly there are some eggs that are uniquely and beautifully decorated and a major part of Easter observances in Russia and the Balkans.

One of the local traditions that I always enjoyed was the Easter egg hunts sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. If you recall we had one hunt at the Edwardsville Community Park and about a hour later one on the Bonner Springs High School campus. I really enjoyed seeing the kids scramble after the eggs. I always got the middle school Leaders’ Club, the National Honor Society and the Edwardsville Kiwanis Club to provide manpower for the event.

One memory is of a 3- or 4-year-old boy at one of the hunts. He raced out with the crowd of children and picked up an egg. He turned and sped back to his mother. She urged him to go back and get some more eggs. “No,” he said “I’ve got one and that’s all I need.” He wanted to make sure other children found an egg. Maybe that was the true spirit of sharing and one of the true meanings for the season.

One of my most cherished memories of Easter was when our daughters were young. It was a busy time for Jean, who sewed three special outfits for our daughters. After church we had a ham dinner and then held a family hunt for baskets that Jean had prepared.

Times have changed. I sincerely hope you have a joyous Easter and the weather cooperates and we have a beautiful day. But, in the midst of all the secular celebration, please take a minute and remember the real meaning of Easter. Have a wonderful and safe holiday.

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