I knew our family had changed when I awoke early on Easter morning and realized that the Easter bunny had not come. Our family was so focused on the real meaning of Easter on Holy Saturday that even the Easter bunny forgot to do his job. As I crept past my youngest who had found her way onto the couch, trying not to wake her, I realized what an amazing change this was for all of us. On the counter was my youngest daughter’s favorite plastic bunny with a note hanging around its neck that read: “Dear Easter bunny, Wishing you the blessings and joy of Easter!”
As I frantically put together baskets as quietly and quickly as I could, praying all the while to my youngest’ guardian angel to keep her sleeping while I did my duty, I realized that while Easter bunnies are signs of Hope, my family understands that Jesus Christ is the real Hope. By the time the family dog heard my scrambling and woke my daughter, the Easter bunny had safely delivered his baskets once again.
Fast forward to today. I think my son had it right. I told him this morning that he has soccer practice tonight. His response was, “On Easter Monday?” Because we celebrate the Season of Easter in our family, we take Easter week off. Yes, you read that correctly. Easter is not just Easter Sunday. It actually is a season that lasts 50 days. My son asked, “Why would they schedule practice during Easter Week? That doesn’t seem right.” Let me be clear, he loves to play soccer and never grumbles about practice. My response, “No one knows or they don’t care. But we do, so we have to both celebrate and offer up these crosses for them.”
Many Christians I know don’t even realize Easter is a season. They ask me, “Why 50 days?” Well, there’s this really important thing that we celebrate on day 50. It’s called Pentecost. That’s 9 days after the Ascension which is another celebration during the Easter Season. Of course, the Blessed Mother and the Apostles prayed for 9 days to prepare for Pentecost. That would be the first Novena! And the Pentecost is the founding of the Church. So, we have Easter Sunday, the day of our Lord’s Resurrection, followed by Divine Mercy Sunday, then the Ascension and it all culminates in Pentecost when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was so immense that a group of fearful, tentative followers began to share the Good News so profoundly that it changed our world forever!
If you have never celebrated the Easter Season, I suggest you find some resources about these next few weeks and learn more about how to glorify our good God and to prepare for the Holy Spirit coming into your life on Pentecost. It may fundamentally change the way you and your family will celebrate Easter.
I’ve been thinking about announcements–when they occur, what they mean and why we make them. In my life, there have been wonderful announcements, scary announcements and sad announcements.
Wonderful announcements: “We’re engaged.” or “I’m expecting.” or “It’s a boy!”
Scary announcements: “A tornado is touching down.” or “An airplane has flown into the twin towers.” or “Your youngest brother has cancer.”
Sad announcements: “We’re getting divorced.” or “Grandma died.” or “You are losing this baby.”
It really doesn’t matter who delivers these messages, when they deliver them or how they deliver them to you, there is this feeling right before the message that sinks into your heart. Sometimes, in that moment, it is even hard to understand what exactly is being said because the reality of the statement is just too much to bear.
On the Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord, I wonder if Mary felt all these things at once–wonder, fear and sadness–when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her. What an announcement that was for her to receive!
Although the announcements in my life are minor compared to Mary’s, I think about how impactful those moments were in my life and how I had to really spend some time processing the news, either good or bad. I do not think I always respond in the best way. Instead, I let fear or despair or sadness or pride reign over me.
But the Blessed Mother’s “yes” to an announcement that is beyond all announcements has changed the world. I am trying to learn to say “yes” like her and change this little corner of the world around me. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
I never realized that there was more than one view on love until I was talking with an acquaintance about children. She had a toddler and was pregnant with her second. She was wondering if she could possibly love this second child as much as her first. I think my jaw dropped opened. Hopefully, I was kind enough to hide my surprise. I seriously had never thought that way. But maybe you do? Here are two views of love:
View #1 – Limited and Diminishing
Real people have shared this view with me. If you carry this view of love in your heart, you see a finite amount of love to go around. So, if you are a mom, you think loving one child means having less love for the second child, and even less for a third child. You may even run out of love if you have too many children. If you are a spouse, you think that having a child is going to make your spouse love you less. It becomes a battle over who do you love more? Me or our child? This view flows over into the workplace, the neighborhood, everywhere you go! If you have had to work with someone who shares this outlook, you will know what I mean.
View #2 – Abundant and Growing
I personally prefer this view. I like to use the analogy of a candle. If I light a candle, it brings light to the whole room. Now, if I give each of my children a candle, every time I light their candle, my candle doesn’t run out of light. In fact, it really doesn’t change. And they now have a candle that could light a whole room and a whole bunch of other candles. This candle lighting and room lighting could go on for a very long time (limited only by the fact that my analogy is based on a finite object like a candle!) This view also flows over and it just brings tremendous joy with it.
I hope your heart prefers to love with abundance! This gift of love will overflow and double back like a tidal wave. Try it sometime!
I know we tend to gloss over things in the past and make them better than they were. But this morning, I am finding tremendous joy in my memories of childhood. Come down memory lane with me!
Some of my favorite memories….
Walking to the five and dime store with a dollar, and coming home with a bag full of candy.
Riding double on a banana-seat bicycle with my sister who always ended up doing the pedaling because I was a wimp (no helmets required).
Live on Broadway or the Driveway:
Going to the library (yes, the library) to find plays which we could perform for the neighborhood moms. I even remember part of the name: “Strawberry Cake with Pink Lemonade Icing.”
Playing football, baseball, soccer, volleyball, softball, and hockey in your yard or the street with the neighborhood kids, and playing any sport I wanted to try at any age because sports were only a 6-week commitment and no one expected you to pick your sport in Kindergarten. (Note: This required knowing your neighbors and that they actually decided to have children.)
Homemade Family Dinners:
Waiting for my Dad’s car to round the corner and racing him home for dinner which was always homemade from scratch.
Dial Phone with Chord:
Sitting on the very top stair with the long cord that one of my sisters convinced my parents to buy and talking with friends until the next sibling needed the phone. Never having to worry about carrying a phone or checking a phone or losing a phone.
I hope you found joy in this trip down memory lane. Please share if you have memories that bring you joy from this time, too!