Each year as Easter rolls around, I feel swamped with life and somehow the most important holiday in my family’s faith gets sidelined by all the busyness of raising kids. Do you feel the same way?
A few years back, as I was putting our boxes of Christmas décor away, it struck me how we go so big for Christmas but hardly do anything at all for Easter. We literally had a mall-sized Christmas tree several years in a row. The trees were so big that we had to bolt each one to the wall for fear of them falling on our children! My husband’s name should really be Clark Griswold!
But come spring, Easter would come and go with an egg hunt, a church service, and a family dinner, and that was it. While handing yet another red plastic container over my head to Chris in the attic, I decided to set out and create some new Lent traditions, with the goal to create more hype leading up to Easter and to carve out time to draw near to Jesus.
Meet the Lent Candle holder. We are now on the third iteration of this concept inspired by Ann Voskamp. That first year, Chris, my husband, and I grabbed a piece of wood from our junk pile and drilled 40 holes for cheap votive candles I found at Ross. The candles melted into the holes and we threw it out after one year. Oops! The next year, I made another. This time it held tall taper candles. By Easter, it looked like a huge birthday cake and nearly lit our table on fire when a taper (or two) fell over!
This year, we redesigned it yet again, and finally I have the centerpiece I envisioned at the start. We used reclaimed boards to criss-cross and then drilled holes for forty glass votive holders.
After sanding, staining and adding a protective coat, it landed on our dining room table ready to start counting up the forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday! Each night at dinner one of our three tween/teen kids will light all the candles we have already lit and add a new one each day. Step one complete, create hype in the lead up to Easter! Onto step two: focus on Jesus.
That same year I initiated the candle lighting chaos, I began writing a daily devotional on Instagram. I had just begun my journey with hand-lettering and shared a Bible verse each day from my practice.
That year, I decided to dive into the book of Luke during Lent for an on-the-ground journey with Jesus. I longed to imagine what it would have been like to walk the dusty roads with him, to sit with him above the Sea of Galilee, to see the blind seeing and dancing, and hear his heart come through his teaching.
I wanted to prepare my heart for his light just as I had prepared our table to shine with candles. Over the last few years, I have continued to share that Luke series during Lent, tweaking it, making new (and better) pieces of art. This year I finally put it all down on paper and published it, so I get to hold the book in my own hand at the table and journal out the digging deeper questions.
So, each dinner, our family will light candles, and each morning, I will light the same candles as I dig into the book of Luke in the devotional, holding space in my heart and routines to draw near to Jesus, to raise my eyes off the storms of life to seek his heart and love and delight. And my youngest daughter wants to go through the devotional with me as well! Step two, draw close to Jesus: check!
How about you? How do you celebrate Easter? Do you have any outside-of-the-box traditions to share with us here? I would love to learn what you do to mark this holiday in the comments below.
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