Celebrating Easter All Season Long
by Rebecca Sontag
Easter is everything. Easter is God’s ultimate gift of love, mercy and sacrifice. It is how we are reconciled, where we find forgiveness and hope. It is where death is overcome by life everlasting.
But in the rush for the next season or the next holiday, we don’t always take enough time for this pinnacle celebration of our liturgical year. Instead, Easter’s festivities often get squeezed into a single Sunday morning and then are swept out with plastic grass, candy wrappers and broken eggs later that day.
Easter eggs and candy are great, but the celebration is so much more than just one day! Eastertide gives us a full 50 days to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Here are some ideas to help you keep the celebration going.
Use the Paschal Greeting
Teach your family and friends the Paschal greeting for your hellos this Eastertide. This Easter tradition from the Eastern Orthodox Church is a simple greeting of “Christ is Risen” to which is replied, “He is risen indeed.”
It is a simple thing but offers great opportunity for frequent reflection. What does this mean for you at this moment in your life?
Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday
Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet on Divine Mercy Sunday, the final day of the Easter Octave and second Sunday of Easter.
Meditate on St. Faustina’s vision of the Divine Mercy of Christ as you pray for God’s abundant mercy in your life. Go to Confession to literally receive God’s mercy on the spot.
Celebrate God’s gift of mercy with a spirit of gratitude. Write a thank you card to a priest, religious brother or sister or someone else who has helped guide you along your way.
Plant a Mary Garden
Something as simple as a small pot of Lilies of the Valley in a sunny window or tucked away in a corner of the backyard can provide a spot to cultivate beauty, peace and a place of prayer.
It is a beautiful devotion to grow flowers for our Holy Mother, be they given to her to adorn the church or used to cheer up a neighbor. Each weed pulled and every blossom tended is an opportunity for a heartfelt petition or just a quick utterance of gratitude and love as you surround yourself with and nurture this new and growing life sprouting forth.
Throw a Birthday Party
Eastertide culminates with the Solemnity of Pentecost, in which the Holy Spirit imbues the apostles with the divinized ability to baptize in God’s name. Pentecost is the birth of the Church, and that definitely deserves a party!
Wear red clothes to Mass and make sure to put candles on that cake after your Pentecost dinner. Everyone blow them out on the count of three, and really think about what it is that the Holy
Spirit is moving you to do. How can you be a gift to God and those around you? Pray. Listen. But also, act!
Do something concrete that moves you in the direction God wants you to go. Give yourself over evermore completely to this new life in Christ. Isn’t that what Easter is about? Savor the 50 days and let God make you new.