I come from the land of the ice and snow. Aka Minnesota. When it gets to be mid-March or so, my fellow Minnesotans inevitably start talking about how anxious they are for spring. They get crabby when the temperature dips into the teens. They get irritable when there’s snow in the forecast. When it actually snows, they get just plain angry.
I kind of understand. As much as I love winter—and I really love winter—there does come a point when even a hardcore fan like me is ready for warm sunshine and daffodils.
But here’s the cruel trick of spring in Minnesota: it’s ridiculously short. Because our cold weather tends to stick around well into spring’s three-month allotment, we barely get a month of mild, bright, breezy days before summer’s humidity and mosquitos come roaring in.
When you’ve waited so long for something so wonderful, it’s kind of disappointing when it’s over almost before its begun.
The Easter season
When I was young, I felt the same way about Easter Sunday. After the long, dark, somber weeks of Lent, I was always so ready for that glorious Sunday morning service when we’d prop open the doors of the church to let the sunlight stream in. The trumpets would sound, the banners would unfurl, and the whole world seemed to wake up and rejoice in the return of light and life.
And by 10:30 a.m., it was over. All that waiting, and it was just…done. It seemed so out of balance to me—so much Lent, so little Easter.
What I didn’t know until I got old enough to pay attention to the liturgical calendar is that Easter Sunday is just the beginning. The 50 days of the Easter season, sometimes known as Eastertide, offers us a whole season to move from the reflection and repentance of Lent into a place of renewed joy and gratitude.
This year, consider making Eastertide an intentional time of gratitude and celebration for the good things God has done. Each Sunday, take a bit of time as a Sunday school class to recognize that the season of Easter is still here and worth celebrating.
Three tips for celebrating Eastertide with kids
- Decorate a gratitude jar and place it somewhere that everyone can see it. Each week, have kids write down something they’re grateful for on a small slip of paper and pop it in the jar. At Pentecost, pull these out as reminders of all the ways you see God’s Spirit at work in your lives.
- Create an ongoing, collaborative art project. Each week, hand out various colors of sticky notes and ask kids to draw an image of something God made. Stick the notes on a bare wall, gradually creating an abstract mosaic pattern. If you’re really artsy, map out a design ahead of time and have students create a unique work of art with their notes.
- Plan a service project you can do in your church. Make homemade bread to be served for communion. Create artwork to be hung in the narthex. Work together to cook a simple meal to serve to the congregation on Wednesday night. Get outside and plant flowers or seeds and tend to them. As you plan and work, celebrate your part in this community.
As you celebrate Easter Sunday today, reflect on the beauty of the day, the (almost) arrival of spring, and the joy and gratitude you’ll get to experience in the full season ahead.