Don’t let fun overshadow meaning of Easter


Leah Lehman, Leader Columnist

As I sit and contemplate the Easter preparations, I will be making for the family meal on Easter Sunday, my thoughts also travel to the Bible, and the accounts of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then the alleluias of joy at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

I often wonder how we got to this point in 2017, when the Easter candy, baskets and the like take up residence in stores right after Valentine’s Day.

As a child growing up in the late 1940s and early ’50s, commercial interests did not creep into our lives as they do now with television and the internet. The Sears, Spiegel and Montgomery Ward catalogs were king at our farmhouse.

With their arrival, my brother and I would look and wish, and my parents would look and wish. Sometimes, a few things were ordered, but mostly they were not to be afforded.

The main arrival in the spring was my mother’s chicks. So fuzzy and yellow, they were pampered and left to grow. Somehow, we never thought of them in relation to Easter; they were thought of as the source of food, through the eggs and the meat.

I was fond of those chicks until they started laying eggs and I was assigned to go and gather the eggs; eggs that they did not want to give up to this little girl.

At some point my brother and I got to color Easter eggs. We always had plenty of them. That is how my mother got to making angel food cakes, which required 12 egg whites. Not wanting the leftover yolks, she started making sponge cake, which needed those.

When my own children were growing up, we used to get carried away with the egg coloring. When we were done, they liked to take the dye that was left and put it in the mud puddles outside.

Of course, I made up Easter baskets for them, and eventually they wanted me to just hide smaller pieces of candy items to give them more of a challenge. I would often forget where those pieces were hidden, and they often stayed hidden for months.

These days, Easter, like so many holidays, has become so commercialized that the traditions and reason for the season are often forgotten.

For a Christian, the 40 days of Lent are a time for reflection and repentance. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, and Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. An earthly king would not have entered in so humble a manner. His followers waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!”

“But to the human point of view, the whole thing would have looked ridiculous.” (Martin Luther)

By the following Friday, Jesus would be nailed to a cross, die and be buried in a borrowed tomb. To ensure the tomb was secure, a great stone was placed at the entrance, along with a seal and guard.

Matthew 28:5-6 says: “But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”