The March Easter Muddle

ChatterI was appalled in mid-January when I received a catalog advertising Easter decorations. I had just swept the last of my Christmas tree needles away, and was proud of myself for just putting up some Valentine’s window decals. “I’m not ready for this,” I thought. Easter, you need to pack up your moss and Cadbury cream eggs and get back in line behind MLK day, The Super Bowl, Valentine’s, and St. Patty’s Day. Sometimes you have to talk sternly to holidays.

Then I realized Easter wasn’t even in APRIL this year, which made me even grouchier. Who does Easter think it is? That it can just show up whenever it deems appropriate? It probably won’t even be warm enough for acceptable Easter clothing! What are we supposed to wear for March Easter? Tartan? And what will we do with all of April, anyway? Braid grass?

It’s all a mess. Fresh off of spring break, with all of our broken legs and sunburned backs and depleted wallets, we will pull on old winter coats to search for eggs in the frosty grass — grass recently cleared of all St. Patty’s Day remains. Such a jumble of themes, such a deli-stacked month of celebrations, events, and calendar alarms. I hate that Easter, the most important holiday of all, has to share the spotlight with Cabo and Lower Greenville. I hate that Easter has to get in line, find a spot, clear a campsite, and acquire a permit. If Steve Harvey gets his own talk show, shouldn’t Easter get its own month?

With Easter so early this year, our five-year-old son Drew has already been preparing, thoroughly captivated by the Easter story. Observing the Passover meal illustration of Jesus with his disciples and their empty plates, he said, “Yook, Mr. Mommy, Jesus’ friends ate all of their dinner!” High praise, indeed.

Then he asks questions. And then answers his questions for himself.

Drew: Why did Jesus’ friends fall asleep in the garden, Mr. Mommy?

(Drew: Because it was dark.)

Why are the guards mad?

(They are mad because they are mad. No, Mr. Mommy, they are called GUARDS, not SOLDIERS.)

Why did Jesus die?

(Because the nails hurt his hands.)

What is the angel’s name, the one at the tomb?

(Probably Pat.)

Where is heaven?

(Up there.)

Do you want to meet Jesus, Mr. Mommy?

Me: Yes, Drew. I really do.

Drew’s surface-level interest in Easter advanced a notch the following week. I overheard him and our two-year-old daughter Maddie taking turns briefly crucifying one another in the playroom. Drew was the GUARD (not the SOLDIER), and Maddie was Jesus. “Here, Maddie, lie down on the cross like this,” he commanded.

Pause. I assumed she had draped herself across the couch.

“Ok. Now die.”

Pause. I would give a jillion dollars to see how Madeline must have squinted her uber-eyelashed lids together.

“Ok, my turn to be Jesus!” Drew yelled.

It was then I betrayed my presence. Sticking my head into the room and jabbing a macaroni-covered spoon in their direction, I said: “YOU HAVE TO RISE AGAIN FIRST! RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD, MADDIE!”

It seems wrong to have to remind my children that the point of the Easter story is actually that Jesus came out of a tomb, alive. I mean, right? Isn’t that fact the whole shebang? Even if there were intriguing angels named Pat and angry, fascinating GUARDS who were just mad for the sake of being mad, and scary, foreign modes of capital punishment involving humongous nails. Even so…

If my son can get bogged down in details and imagination, so can I. Easter can become many different things and take on many different colors, lost as an afterthought in the midst of a busy month. But when the first rays of light stain the clouds pink on Easter morning, I am only to remember one beautiful fact that changes a billion other facts into something beautiful, too: that Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed.

Even in March.

Julie

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1 Comment to “The March Easter Muddle”
  1. This post (like ALL of your posts) is a beauty! Looking forward to seeing you next week my friend!

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