I spent my childhood attending Sunday school. I studied at a Jesuit university with a chapel in the very center of campus. As I nibbled on wafers, confessed my sins, and fought to play Mary in the Christmas pageant, I learned there’s a lot of pressure on Easter.
Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection after he was crucified and buried in a tomb to atone for the sins of the world. This is Christianity’s defining event. It is important to ensure that your Easter rises (pun intended) to the challenge.
Any good Easter celebration requires preparation. First, confirm whether you are Christian. If there is no direct evidence, check ancestry.com. You might also drive by your local churches to see if any ring a bell. (Here, I intend the phrase in the idiomatic sense.) When all else fails, be honest: Have you ever felt guilty for wondering how to spend a Sunday morning?
Yes? You’re Christian somewhere.
Second, confirm whether you have children. If there is no direct evidence, check Facebook and search the profiles of anyone who communicates with you through court orders alone. When all else fails, be honest: Have you ever felt guilty for sleeping past sunrise on a Sunday morning?
Yes? You’re a parent somewhere.
To the extent you find yourself both a Christian and a parent, buckle up. Jesus might be the “main” reason we celebrate Easter, but running a tight second is dressing up our children to look like puff pastries and then watching them cram so much candy down their throats that they spend this holiest of days approximating their first narcotic high, but on processed sugar, so they crash right around bedtime and wake up with a raging glycemic hangover. And then it’s off to school.
We have thus identified two crucial components to a successful Easter: fashion and food.
When Jesus was crucified, he was naked except for a loincloth that, fortunately, made for a tasteful tableau in later renderings. To honor the humility of that scene, it is important that your offspring be draped in every manner of smocking, lace, ribbon, bow, and ruffle. The palette should be pastel, the theme floral, the fabric anything that flounces. Family portraits should scream whimsy and landed gentry.
Once your children look enticing enough to make Christ rise again, take them to an Easter egg hunt. Explain that the eggs signify a vessel for candy having no apparent relationship to assuming a seat at God’s right hand. Then explain that the eggs will have been delivered to the hunt site by a bunny, an animal lacking the biological capacity to lay an egg, but whatever.
Get to the hunt early, and arm each of your children with a large basket that has spikes coming out of the sides so that it can also be swung like a weapon. The message here is that it’s important to win, even on holidays. Teach your children to jump fences, cut lines, ignore countdowns, the irrelevance of sharing, and how to use their elbows. Tell them they can only eat 10 pieces of the candy they score. When they eat 23, pretend not to notice, mostly by stepping over the rainbow trail of litter in their wake.
With your family established as the conqueror of things that can also be bought at the store down the street, go home and read all the Bible passages about Jesus staggering into a food coma after eating too many malted milk balls. A relative should snap a photo of your brood gathered around the hearth at this very sweet moment.
It’s finally time for the meal. An Easter supper should feature a ham or a buffet. The ham is there so that if you also happen to have pineapple, you can teach your children about Hawaii and the amazing things one can do with pizza. A buffet is symbolic of all the food Jesus never got to enjoy in one sitting, which just kind of feels right, you know?
As your meal comes to a close, raise a Reese’s peanut butter egg, and salute the resurrection that demonstrates God’s promise to us of an eternal home in Heaven. Amen.