Monday, March 25, 2013

Eastery Yet?


 by Susanne Dietze

Time for some Better Homes and Gardens Talk.

How do you make your house look Easter-y? Do you hide eggs? Do you prefer pastel eggs or brighter colors? Will you have an Easter lily in your house? Ham for dinner, or something different?

(For the record, my house has a few Easter decorations of a pastel nature, and if the jonquils in the yard are blooming, I'll cut some stems and bring them inside. For dinner, we’ll have ham, asparagus, and a potato casserole.)

Since I’m the wife of a pastor who’s happily exhausted by Easter afternoon, our Easter Day traditions are simple. After a joyful celebration of the Resurrection at church, the kids hide plastic eggs multiple times for the joy of finding them, and in the evening we eat a nice, yet undemanding dinner while wearing sweatpants.
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Easter is the foundation of our faith as Christians, for it's through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we have received new birth into a living hope (1 Pet. 1-3 NIV). As Christians, our desire is to "...know him and the power of his resurrection..." (Phil. 3:10 ESV). Therefore we keep a holy Easter.

We all have traditions to commemorate holidays, but at Easter, I think it’s a treasure when we follow traditions that remind us Jesus conquered the cross and grave for us.

Here are a few of my personal traditions (it's striking how many of them have to do with food):

Hot Cross Buns--more please! The icing cross on top of these breakfast buns reminds us of the true meaning of Easter. I confess I could easily become addicted to Panera’s hot cross buns, made super-scrumptious with candied orange peel and strawberries. But instead of indulging, we try to keep them as a special treat, remembering Jesus when we eat them.
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Several years ago we bought Resurrection Eggs from the Bible book store. There are a dozen plastic, hollow eggs in a cute little carton, and inside each egg is symbols of the Easter story (a donkey for Palm Sunday, a chalice for Maundy Thursday, a spear). You open one egg a day for twelve days, accompanied by a short devotional.
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Attending Church services during the week keeps me grounded and focused. In my denomination, we offer services on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so we go into Easter having journeyed with Jesus through Holy Week.

At some point, I'll watch “The Passion” (starring Jim Caviezel), because it's is a visceral reminder to me of what Jesus endured for my sake.

Dyeing eggs with my kids happens on Friday or Saturday. No wonder eggs have long been symbols of Easter, with their hard shells representing the tomb, and the hatching chick symbolizing the new life of Resurrection. There could be other yummy reasons, too: since Lent is a season of fasting, Christians boiled eggs laid during Holy Week to preserve them for Easter, and it’s interesting to note some countries’ traditional Easter dinners contain boiled eggs (Hungarians eat them with potatoes, while Spaniards enjoy them in hornazo).

As for our family's eggs? They generally end up in sandwiches, but I can tell my husband’s gunning for deviled eggs.
Resurrection Cookies are another fun (and tasty) tradition that helps direct our eyes to our Risen Lord. They're meringue cookies, and if you make them, let me know how they turn out!

You’ll need:
 
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggie
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape
Bible
  • Preheat oven to 300F. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
  • Place pecans in baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by Roman soldiers. (Set aside the baggie.) Read: John 19:1-3
  • Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read: John 19:28-30
  • Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.Read: John 10:10-11
  • Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.Read: Luke 23:27
  • Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
  • Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
  • Fold in beaten pecans. Drop cookie batter by teaspoon onto waxed paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read: Matthew 27:57-60
  • Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66
  • Leave the cookies alone and go to bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20,22
  • On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.Read: Matthew 28:1-9
What about you? What are some of your Easter traditions?

***
In the mood for a spring outing? Wednesday, come visit me on Regency Reflections, where I'm posting on what it would have been like to visit the zoo (The Royal Menagerie in London) during the Regency. Here's a teaser: Monkey Attack.

***

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. She won first place in the Historical category of the 2011-2012 Phoenix Rattler, and her work has finaled in the Genesis, Gotcha!, and Touched By Love Contests. Susanne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.

12 comments:

  1. I love the Overnight cookie recipe!
    That's completely new for me. Thanks for sharing all your traditions, Susie!

    I admit I've only watched THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST once. I own it. I watched it once alone (My mother had watched it alone previously as she desired the privacy) and sometimes I think about watching it... and don't. It's an incredible movie, of course. I've never forgotten the scenes that I seem to be avoiding.

    I love Easter week. I love Easter more than Christmas. There I said it.

    This year I hope to get some video of my grandchildren and their cousins in a group Easter egg hunt. Five children under five. This is a monumental and once in a life time event as we only do these family vacations ever other year. Next time there will be shoving and crying I think! :)

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  2. Oh Deb, you've got to get some video of those grandbabies! Five under five...scurrying for eggs. I love it.

    In a few years, you guys can try making the cookies!

    The Passion is a hard movie to watch. It's quite graphic, but Jesus endured violence and shame for our sakes. Once can be enough, though... I've never forgotten the shots of His hand as He's flogged. Just His hand, but so much anguish and pain is expressed in it.

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  3. Instead of commenting earlier, I read Dina's YA.

    I want to make some hot cross buns. Those look so good. Yumm! In the Wichita Mtns near where we live, the Holy City puts on the Passion Play about Jesus's birth to resurrection. We couldn't go last weekend, but they're having another performance Saturday night. Am thinking about taking the kiddos.

    I'm also thinking about showing The Passion of the Christ to Jerah Jadan and Rhyinn. It's the original version, not the PG013ified one, but that's okay.

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  4. I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ. I think I'm a little afraid to. And yet even that is probably not horrible enough to really show what Jesus went through for us.

    I really ought to watch it. I ought to realize at least in some part what He did. It's just hard.

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  5. Have fun making hot cross buns, Gina! I am not great with yeast-rolls, so I haven't tried to make any. The Panera ones are expensive but they're just so gooood.

    My oldest has seen The Passion. Youngest has seen some scenes.

    Speaking of violence, there's a lot of it in The Bible miniseries on History Channel. Yipes.

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  6. DeAnna, don't feel pressured to watch The Passion. It's totally a personal thing and you're right, it's not easy to watch. I cry every time. I've seen it many times, but it doesn't matter.

    I didn't even know there was a PG13 version until Gina just told us.

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  7. Well, even the once that don't show much of the crucifixion, I still bawl like a baby.

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  8. One of the scenes in The Passion that really got to me was Mary thinking of Jesus as a little boy. My son was little at that time and I totally related to how she must have felt. I was a freaking mess.

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  9. Me, too, Lisa! That scene slayed me. It's one of the most profound images from that movie, to me, at least.

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  10. We usually buy our hot-crossed buns because we go through so many of them, although I did make them for a while back when. I have better luck with yeast breads than cakes. (scratch)

    We used to decorate eggs, but now that only the 2 teen males are home, we just boil more of them at Easter. (Well, considering they are male teens, they seem to eat more of everything.)

    When we had the Welsumer chickens that laid the dark, reddish colored eggs, I'd make the ethnic Easter bread where you place the 3 eggs in the top folds of the braided wreath to represent a crown of thorns. At least I think that's what it represented.

    Sunday night, I watched another installment of The Bible on The History Channel. It began when Jesus started teaching, and ended as they took him away after the trial held at night. This series is very realistic and I'm watching it with mixed feelings of sadness and joy.

    Thanks, Susie.

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  11. Ooh Anita, I've seen pictures of Easter breads. Just gorgeous.

    I've been watching The Bible, too. How do you like the casting of Jesus? I think he's pretty good.

    That's one thing I love about The Passion: Jim Caviezel has a way of looking at the other characters with such loving intensity that I have to stop and think of how Jesus loves me.

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