Easter Past with Our Children: Elijah, Uriah, and Alisha

EASTER SUNDAY:  Like most families with small children, Easter was one of the most joyous celebrations of the year. We anticipated the family’s focus on the risen Savior and the gaiety it brought. On Holy Saturday, a time of rest and reflection, I assisted with the dying of three dozen eggs. Three toddlers slosh paint everywhere, while they sang great favorites, including ‘This Old Man’: This old man, he plays two. He plays nick-knack on my shoe; with a nick-knack, paddy-wrack, give a dog a bone. This old man goes rolling home. That night, I quietly rolled around the house, tucking thirty-six eggs, here and there, and praying that they would be discovered within the next 48-hours.

The holy day arrived. We were up early. Breakfast on Easter morning included eggs, sausage, grits, biscuits loaded with strawberry jelly, and Florida Sunshine Juice in white Styrofoam cups. After breakfast, pink ribbons were positioned, just so, in Alisha’s lovely, long hair. Strawberry jelly was washed from Elijah’s mouth, and Uriah’s snap-on tie was snapped back onto his power-blue dress shirt and straighten for the third time. (He kept taking it off to examine its construction.) Lord, please give me patience like your servant Job.

In the car, there is a cacophony of noise: “Give that back.”  “Mom, he touched me.”  “No! You be quiet.”  Elijah, studiously, practiced his Easter exposition: “He lives, so we can too.” Daddy drove all the way to church without uttering a sound. On the car radio, “In the Garden” was being sung softly. How I wish I was there, now; “Where the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God [disclosing]” (The New National Baptist Hymnal, # 109). Lord, all I desire is a few moments, alone, to walk and talk with you.

We arrived at the church. Everyone looked regal; pink and blue hats with feathers on top’, glittering pins and crying babies that would not stop. There were many cheerful greetings from the heart. Everyone seems pleased for the opportunity to fellowship in community once again. Sunday school is packed. No extra seats. We stand and direct morning activities. Adult and children of all ages have shown up, today. From the classroom teachers to the pulpit preacher, we strongly desired to impact their lives; “Lord, send them back, again, next Sunday.” Classes now taught and treats provided. The message was powerful. Three come to the altar. Three sheep not lost, but a part of the fold, now.

Now, home again, for the anticipated hour. After changing of clothes and dinner eaten; the Easter baskets are ripped open with exuberance. Mind you, these baskets have been beautifully arranged by one of the A&P Grocery stores or Drug World. After the contents of the baskets are examined for fifteen seconds, each child is presented with a large clear storage bag filled with artificial green or pink grass. Get on your mark. Get set. Go!

The seeking game has begun. There are squeals and laughter. My heart is warmed by the excitement. One egg was discovered and then another. I lay flat on the nearest wall, so not to be trampled by six rushing feet; heading for the upper rooms. Elijah, Uriah, and Alisha would find ‘greater life’ on the second and third floors; more eggs and hidden clues to the six plastic eggs with quarters in them.*  We, too, can find greater life, daily, as we move to our upper room, and do so with the enthusiasm of the six, seven, and eight-year olds.

The Easter activities are finished. I am exhausted. The kids are at play, OUTSIDE; Hide and Seek, Freeze, Dodge Ball, or Follow-Me antics on their bikes. All is well, even though one egg is still missing. It will show up sooner or later. Prayerfully, sooner!  Today, Uriah asked me why Jesus paid the cost. “Mom, how much did Jesus have to give up? Who got the money?”  He paid a lot, Uriah. An awful lot!   Pastor Dianthia Gilmore

* The Easter celebration rituals remained with us for many years. When the children became pre-teens, the quarters were replaced with one-dollar and five-dollar bills inside of the colorful plastic eggs.



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