Helping our children see paradise

In New Hampshire, the incessant cycle of birth and death and rebirth is inescapable. You cannot ignore the ancient story of desolation and consolation, the ever-present hope of new life. No matter how cold, how dark, how hard, how closed-off the world becomes, there is always reason to hope, deep down. Every twig bears witness to this hope. Trim off a branch of the lilac in the deepest day of winter, and you’ll see it: a tiny shaft of green. It’s hard to wait in the middle of February, but by God and his Grace, it’s better than having nothing to wait for.

Read the rest of my latest column for Parable Magazine.

How do you keep Easter going for fifty days?

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Remember, the Church is not like Walmart. We don’t celebrate a holiday for a day and then tear everything down the very next day as if it never happened. The Easter season lasts for fifty days, until Pentecost.

So, how do we observe Easter?

I realize that some of you live in bizarro land, and are already going swimming and using the AC and stuff; but here in the northeast, Easter comes as spring is just getting a foothold. The birds are newly hysterical with love, the streams are exuberantly throwing off their last loads of ice and rushing to meet each other, and there’s an almost audible glow around every bush and tree as the hard, closed buds finally burst into the first fresh greens of the year.

So I do feel like we’re celebrating Easter, resurrection, refreshment, renewal, and general hopefulness and fresh starts as we do the things that naturally go with the seasons: putting away boots, mittens, and snowpants, sweeping mud out of corners, clearing out flower beds, cleaning up the yard, planting window boxes, and finally opening the windows again. The hammock and trampoline are back in service.

There is, of course, also tons of special food in the house, and I bought a truly insane amount of matzoh, which we’ll turn into matzo brei.

But I’d love to add some overtly religious practices into our family routine, to set Easter apart from the rest of the year. What has worked in your family? A special prayer you only say during this season? Maybe candles at dinner? Maybe a song added to evening prayers? Music during meals? This year, we read the Easter homily by St. John Chrysostom on Easter day, and followed the orthodox tradition of having the kids shout back “He is angered!” every time that phrase came up, and then “He is risen!” every time that phrase came up. They loved it, but I think it would be less spectacular if we did it more than once a year.

Any ideas? Simple is good!

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Image: Norway maple bud via Max Pixel

 

Springtime in New Hampshire

We’ve been stuck inside for a long, long time, and tempers can flare

and maybe we don’t feel as sorry as we should

but then Mama calls us in for supper

and we run right in

or at least we try.   (Yes, I actually had to get her unstuck. That mud is not fooling around!)

P.S. No sisters were harmed in the making of this photodrama.  But they did get muddy.  Really, rea

At the Register: Desperately Seeking Spring

Not gonna write about frozen garbage today, just little green shoots in a cold world.