Friday, April 10, 2009

From Darkness to Light

First Dawn by traqair57

It's Easter weekend. I made sure to book it off work, and today I made the 4 hour drive home to my parents' house. This is what I've done every year since I moved out, and this is what I will continue to do, like until my life changes in some major way. Every Easter weekend, our whole family gets together (this year we will be short one, due to the sister being in Oz). My Dad's side of the family always has some sort of big dinner, this year is actually the first in my memory that we're not having it at our house - we're going to our aunt and uncle's house because Mom is still recovering from her surgery and seeing as she is going to have a complete recovery from cancer we're encouraging her to milk it while she can. Holiday weekends (Thanksgiving and Easter) are usually pretty stressful in my family, because Mom becomes a giant stress-ball trying to make sure everything is perfect before the family comes over, so this year of cancer treatments has provided a nice break from the stresses of family entertaining at least.
On Easter weekend, we also always have an Easter egg hunt (although Mom stopped this tradition last year, stating that we were too old, and just gave us chocolates in our baskets instead). It's going to be weird celebrating Easter without the middle sister... she was the one who always divided up the Easter eggs to make sure that everyone got an equal amount of foil-wrapped chocolates. But, I suppose, the traditions have to change at some point, and not everyone's going to be able to come to every holiday always.
After the egg hunt, we go to church for an Easter Sunday service that always manages to make me teary. It starts with the entire sanctuary in darkness, all of the normal things like banners, candelabras and floral arrangements are covered in black cloths, and at the front of the church is the large wooden cross we use to light candles on for lent, all of the candles are extinguished, and the cross has black cloths on it as well. Then, someone comes in and lights the Christ candle and others come in and take away the black cloths, still others light the rest of the candles in the sanctuary, and kids from the Sunday School come in with pots and pots of spring flowers to place around the foot of the cross. For us, this symbolizes the darkness that came when Jesus was crucified and the light that followed when He was found risen. Theology aside, I think it's a really nice sentiment. Spring is a time of light after the darkness of winter, so it is a time to start new, to turn mourning into dancing, so to speak.
After a year of dealing with Mom's cancer, I am ready to put it behind me, to move from darkness to light, from mourning to dancing. I am ready to start fresh and focus on me for a bit.
What do y'all do for Easter? Do you celebrate it even? Maybe Passover? What traditions do you have? What ideas do you place behind it? What does that mean for you, and for your family?


Classy in Philadelphia said...

wow, the church tradition sounds beautiful. my church doesn't do anything like that, but that sounds awesome.

EP said...

I love your family's traditions, and I love what your church does, as well. We always do Easter baskets at my home and attend church, though since I had to work this year, we went to a church that wasn't my own. It was still wonderful, though.

I hope you had a lovely Easter!