Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter in a Unitarian Universalist Home

Our morning started off like many others around the country. When the kids woke up, they sat at the top of the stairs and waited for Justin and me to get the cameras ready. They were eager to see if the Easter Bunny had come. Sure enough he had. He brought them each a gardening shovel and rake, a packet of flower seeds, and a big jug of bubbles. Then the three of them searched the house for plastic eggs filled with coins and Play Dough.

After our fun we would have headed to church had the kids not been sick. At church, the kids would have attended their Religious Education classes; Justin and I would have gone to the service. Between the services, the kids would have participated in an Easter egg hunt around the church.

Throughout the day, I worked in the kitchen to prepare a nice meal, while the kids played and Justin worked on a school project. This evening, we had roast chicken, stuffing, mashed potato puffs, carrot soufflé, and rolls and talked about our day.

The main difference for us is that our Easter Sunday focused on something other than the “rebirth” of Jesus. For us, Easter is a time to celebrate the “rebirth” of nature through the budding of the trees, the blooming of flowers, and the coming of warmer weather.

Justin and I talked with Jake today about his thoughts on Easter and his feelings about Jesus. He said that he thought that Jesus was a good person and that his teachings would live on long after he died. This coming from an eight year old! We want the kids to construct their own beliefs about religion after being exposed to a multitude of philosophies, meeting and talking with people of differing beliefs, and utilizing their life experiences.

Historically, Easter is derived from the Teutonic goddess of spring and the dawn, whose name is Ostara or Eastre. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a great article about the link between Easter and Ostara, discussing the joining of the spring celebrations, fertility and the Easter egg.

Though we have a different view of Easter than many, the day still has special meaning in our home. We are excited about the change from winter to spring and look forward to all that this season of "rebirth" has to offer.

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