A New Easter Tradition
My family has never really had an Easter tradition. Sure, we did the egg hunt when the boys were young (okay, we might have done them for quite a while after that, just because it was fun!). The only thing we did to honor Christ’s Atonement, was to not do the Easter Bunny stuff on Sunday. But that hardly helps us remember just how special Easter is.
I’ve always loved rituals and symbols, so the Catholic tradition of the Passover appeals to me. But in my religion, we don’t rely on rituals or symbols, save for a very few. So I’ve gone my entire marriage always feeling a little sad that we didn’t have a better way to celebrate the Miracle of Easter.
Then last week, inspiration struck.
I was sitting in our Sunday women’s meeting, Relief Society, where my beautiful friend, Kim, gave an inspiring lesson. On display, she had a crown of thorns and a simply designed Easter creche. I couldn’t stop looking at that crown, and creche. I wanted symbols to mark the occasion, too.
An image came to mind of a three-wick candle, surrounded by a crown of thorns. What if I had a candle that burned all month, but we blew the candles out on Good Friday? Then re-lit them on Easter Sunday?
So I set about gathering the items I wanted. It was hard to find a crown I liked, but I settled on this one from Magnolia Upholstery on Etsy.
I bought a white, 6” 3-whick candle (scentless), and somehow scrunched the crown down over the candle. The crown is very pointy and sharp! But, strange as it might seem, just the struggle of working the crown around the candle was meaningful to me. I truly can’t imagine how it must have felt for my Savior to experience that. Though, I suppose it must have been as nothing next to the suffering He endured in Gethsemene.
On Sunday, my friend, Michelle Groves, gave a moving talk on the Atonement. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. I wanted to share it all with you, but have settled on this excerpt, which she quoted from a talk given by the President of our church, Russell M. Nelson, called, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives”. He said...
Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.
Now that we have experienced a Sunday with the crown and candle, my family and I have agreed that we like the tradition. This time, we shared something we were grateful to the Savior for, but next time, I think we’ll read some scriptures, too. And I don’t think we’ll burn a candle all week, like I’d originally thought.
This is how I imagine it going in the future:
Buy TWO large 146-hour candles (I used these ones this year, but I’ll keep looking for cheaper options)
On Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter)…
On Good Friday (the Friday before Easter)…
We’ll eat a meal similar to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and read scriptures about the crucifixion, while gradually blowing the flames out so the dinner ends in darkness. Mark 15:15, John 19:16–17, Matt. 27:35, John 19:31–37
Alternatively, you could do this on Holy Wednesday (the Wednesday before Easter) where traditionally, candles are gradually snuffed out, representing the darkness that is to come.
On Easter Sunday, at dinnertime…
We’ll read scriptures relating to Christ’s Resurrection, light the wicks on a new candle (I’ll switch the old one out for a new one before dinner) and enjoy a happy dinner together, remembering our Savior. Mark 16:1–6 ; Luke 24:1–12, 36–43 ; John 20:1–18
So many hymns to choose from for this one! All Glory, Laud, and Honor (no. 69) Behold the Great Redeemer Die (no. 191) Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (no. 200) He Died! The Great Redeemer Died (no. 192) He Is Risen! (no. 199) I Believe in Christ (no. 134) I Know That My Redeemer Lives (no. 136) My Redeemer Lives (no. 135) O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown (no. 197) That Easter Morn (no. 198) While of These Emblems We Partake (no. 173) While of These Emblems We Partake (no. 174)
When the second candle is done (about six more days), I’ll pack it all up and put it away. But I think we’ll have two beautiful weeks of celebration and remembrance.
I can’t wait to practice this new tradition. I’m sure there’ll be kinks to work out, but it feels good and my family likes it, too. What do you think? Does your family celebrate Easter in a special way?