We sat at the kitchen table on a sunny April afternoon, I had made sandwiches for lunch to accompany our crisp slices of granny smith apples. Daxx, Zadie and I sat around the round kitchen table talking, enjoying the streams of sunlight and fresh spring air; just an average afternoon. Daxx took a bite of his sandwich and with shreds of crust rolling out of the corners of his mouth, he mumbled, “Mom, we sure eat Jesus’s body a lot, don’t we?“. I nearly spewed my lemonade all over the dining room table. Wiping my face, astonishment radiating from my protruding eyeballs, I asked him, “Why, why would you say something like that?”. “Well, Jesus said his body is the bread, right…”
OH.MY.GRACIOUS. Talk about taking the Eucharist to a whole new level, people! We finished our lunch, I put Zadie down for a nap, and then Daxx and I downloaded the movie HOP from Itunes and brushed up on our “American Easter Traditions”.
That was the year I got Easter all wrong.
I am 30, I am still figuring this faith thing out myself. I have not arrived. Probably never will, thats okay. Katherine Willis Pershey says it best in her blog on adeeperstory.com, “My faith is a messy amalgam of feisty conviction and quiet doubt, liberal tendencies and orthodox leanings. I believe and don’t believe in the same things at the same time. I don’t pray nearly as often as I should, and nowhere near ceaselessly. I don’t walk the walk; I fumble the fumble.”… YES… I fumble the fumble too!!!
As I try to navigate my own path in faith, I must forge a way for my little children to follow behind, and sometimes thats not an easy road to pave. A few years back my pendulum swung severely to ONE side, questioning all of the “normal” traditions that come with religious celebrations like Christmas and Easter. Were the bunnies and egg hunts distracting from the real meaning of Easter? The death and resurrection of Christ, the most vital part of the gospel… are they looked over because of cultural traditions rooted in paganisms?
Well this year, the year my son thought he was eating Jesus with every bite of bread he took (and he eats a lot of bread), I decided to give my 3 year old son a real dose of “Easter”. I bought books. I bought Resurrection Eggs. I bought Easter CDs and we checked out the Veggie Tale Easter DVD from the library. By-golly my three year old was gonna know the meaning of Easter!! Chest puffed up and head held high, we read the books, we watched the DVDs, we hunted Resurrection Eggs… and then, like I said, my kid said he was eating JESUS… SO… mission failed.
I realized that we when kids are 3 they barely know the difference between red and blue, they are not going to master the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and guess what, some adults don’t even “get it”… Often times we place so much pressure on our children to understand things that are far beyond their grasp. (At least I do.)
In reality, when I look back on my own memories of childhood that annual egg hunt did not make me deny the true meaning of Easter. Dying eggs, hunting them, waking up to Easter treats, and wearing new clothes made me anticipate such a special day. It set the stage for celebration, an atmosphere of rejoicing and a highlighted the true meaning of Easter, new life because of Christ. Never did I confuse the two; the Easter Bunny and Christ. I was always aware of the true reason we celebrated, but the other things were a way of coming together in fellowship.
The terrain might be messy in leading our families on a path of faith; sand, rocks, lush valleys, rugged mountain paths lead you onward each day, and you never know what you are to encounter, especially while (we) the adults are hashing things out along the way. I guess thats why God gives parents grace those first few years, when their little memories are few. 🙂
One of my most favorite scriptures is Deuteronomy 11:11 when Joshua is leading the Israelites into the promised land. Moses is about to die and the Israelites are perched atop a mountain looking over the land they are about to claim…
“The land you are entering is a land of mountains and of valleys, that drinks rain from heaven.”
This is the verse that God has laid on my heart for my journey as a parent… yup, there will be mountains, there will be valleys… but thank.you.Jesus. for the rain from heaven. The rain that nourishes my soul, that gives me hope, that gives me peace, that cleans me, the very water that quenches my thirst and gives me the energy to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. The rain from heaven.
Mistakes happen when it comes to parenting, sometimes we can tighten the reigns just a little to tight, take our job a little too seriously and turn up the pressure a few notches too high… but realizing that, laughing about it, and adjusting is all we can do. Don’t worry, I will tell my grandchildren (and then hopefully their children) about Daxx “Eating Jesus’s body” for lunch that day. Its classic Daxx. Our children can be such a great barometer for our level of parenting. Obviously this instance proved to be so. 🙂
Thanks for reading.
Here are some pics from the Easter mentioned above. Just a reason to reminisce.
|This was a picture of Zadie and I from Easter 2012… you can’t tell, but I have a big ole pregnant belly holding her up.|
|Daxx in the middle with his friends at the egg hunt… fun times…. makes me miss some special people.|
|I had to add this picture of Laurel painting Daxx’s face at the Egg Hunt… obviously he takes his spiderman face painting seriously. She did better than I could have.|
|Again… just too cute.|
|The egg hunt at Denver’s grandparents house…|
|Zadie Bug circa 2012|