Saturday, April 23, 2011

Celebrating Holidays

This Easter weekend is the first one ever when I haven't bought any candy, haven't decorated any eggs, and don't have the Easter baskets out!  Kind of sad, in a way...but kids do grow up, and we're just in that window of time when no grandchildren are around yet...and at some point it seems a little silly to be hiding the baskets, which was always our tradition...As the kids got older it became more and more of a challenge to find places they couldn't find right away.  I think they finally got tired of it the day I had to hide one of them in the ceiling tiles downstairs in order to provide the right level of challenge!

Both Easter and Christmas are obviously religious holidays to those of us who are Christians, but they have also been secularized to some extent, and there are all kinds of disagreements these days.  The public schools have mostly succeeded in replacing Easter vacation, which we had when I was a child, with "Spring Break", which often isn't even at the same time as Easter.  Now they are trying to change "Christmas Vacation" to "Winter Break"....(Watch and see if it doesn't wind up being in January every year instead of Christmas soon...Then the school kids will only get a long weekend off at Christmas, and even more traditions will be threatened by those whose kids remain in the school system.)

There are also those Christians who don't believe in celebrating Easter with little bunnies and colored eggs, and who want to stay away from Santa Claus,too.  There are even those who stress that Christmas developed out of a pagan holiday and think we should avoid it altogether.

Here's my opinion, for what it is worth.  As far as Christmas goes, it has always been a time for families to gather, to remember the story of Bethlehem, and develop family traditions.  I have trouble seeing what is wrong with that.  Of course, we all have to watch out that Christmas doesn't become one giant "to do" list, where huge amounts of debt are accrued in order to provide for every single possible "want", turning it into a greed fest, and making the mom so busy she can't remember what she's supposed to be celebrating.  Still, we had fun with the Santa Claus idea when the children were little. However, we were very careful to always be sure the kids realized that he was fanciful and fun and FAKE, while Jesus was a real, historical figure, who is very much alive and real today. 

Easter, too, was celebrated with the eggs and bunnies at our house, but the children were always reminded that those were symbols of new life, celebrated at the beginning of new life in nature around us, and rooted in the reality of the new life we all receive because Jesus was raised up to new life on that day.  If others want to debate and criticize, it is up to them, but it was always sort of simple and non-political in our house.  My role models, my mom, my grandmother, and my aunt, were simple women, strong women, who cared most of all about their families and didn't get caught up in the arguments that no doubt swirled around them, since there are always people who want to argue about something.  I hope to be that role model, myself, as I get older. I can't wait to have some grandchildren myself so the house will once again be filled with squeals of glee and the type of excitement that can only be generated with a houseful of small children! Enjoy it while you can, young moms....You'll miss it someday!

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