With Easter just a bit less than three weeks away you might already be pulling out your Easter baskets, locating last year's egg coloring packets, and making all sorts of candy purchases at the store. Markets will be jam packed with eggs and families everywhere will have fun both coloring and eating the decorated delights! We thought it would be fun to take a quick hop down Easter lane.
Why eggs? The egg is a symbol of fertility and new life. Its oval shape is reminiscent of the shape of seeds and represents the spring time planting of gardens and farms, the source of new plants which will sprout forth and provide nourishment. Christian families might teach their children that the egg is a beautiful way to think about Jesus. The hard shell is like his tomb and just as a new baby chick comes from this hard, lifeless shell Christ emerged from His tomb. This is a beautiful Roman ritual blessing for Easter eggs: "We beseech thee, O Lord, to bestow thy benign blessing upon these eggs, to make them a wholesome food for thy faithful, who gratefully partake of them in honor of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ."
How about the lily? The lily is a symbol of purity and is often associated with the Blessed Mother. It is the flower that Christ spoke of when He said, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." There are marvelous stories and folklore that surround the lily and would make beautiful bedtime stories to weave for Christian children. Consider sharing the beautiful tale of when Mary's tomb was visited and it was empty save for magnificent bunches of lilies or when Christ's sweat dropped to the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane, lilies sprang up giving hope in what was to come. This is a wonderful way to draw in the beauty of our faith with the symbols of the season.
And the lamb? The lamb is, of course, Christ. As the Paschal Lamb, Jesus was the atonement, once and for all, for the sins of man. If you've never made a fun "Easter Lamb Cake," this year might be the perfect time to start. It is great fun to do with kids of all ages and a wonderful way to talk of Christ being the Lamb of God. Here's an easy recipe.
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
- 1 (16 ounce) can white frosting
- 3 cups flaked coconut
- 2 black jellybeans
- 1 red or black licorice, shoestring works best
- 2 drops green food coloring
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions and bake in two halves of a stand-up lamb cake pan. Cool completely.
- Stick the two halves of the lamb together using white frosting. Sit the lamb up and frost the entire lamb. Coat the entire lamb with coconut. Decorate with jelly beans for eyes, and licorice for whiskers. Tint any remaining coconut with green food color and use as grass.
Why a bunny? The Easter bunny is an all-time favorite of kids. The bunny's appearance dates back to pagan times when spring was the celebration of new life and abundance. As with many Christian holidays, the first evangelizers did their best not only to convert pagans to Christianity but to "baptize" the holidays already in place. The spring equinox (after which day will be longer than night) was a natural time to celebrate the unfolding of the new spring world with symbolism that was an ideal way to introduce Christ who, Himself, opens a new world to us. Thus, the bunny became synonymous with the Easter celebration. If you are looking for a delightful Easter book that both children and adults have fun reading, I can't think of a better one than Sweet Tweets by Trudy Schubert. This book is available on Amazon. It is also worthwhile to note that all of the proceeds from Sweet Tweets go to a school for autistic children located in Wisconsin.
Finally, I did want to mention that the Catholic Exchange Women's Study is also a great Easter present for yourself or someone special! March 15th is the last day to register and gift certificates are available. Why not let someone you love find one in her Easter basket? See below for registration details.