Yesterday was eventful in our house for a number of reasons, but I’m gonna talk about the one relative to Easter.
I was about to write a side note about Maundy Thursday — because I don’t like to assume everyone knows about religious days — but that sounds kind of snooty so let me clarify. I’ve been raised a Christian since birth, but when BrightSide asked me in front of the kids what makes Maundy Thursday important, I did a mental stutter step. For some reason, Easter holy week always makes me do a mental recount and I turn myself around endlessly. (Maybe because I’ve taught elementary-aged kids and the mantra is “don’t count the number you’re sitting on!”) So I always think Maundy Thursday, that’s the day Jesus died because he rose on the third day — died on Thursday; Friday, Saturday, Sunday is 3 days later. But then I remember wait, the Last Supper is a holy day, so that means Thursday would be the Last Supper, which makes Good Friday the day that Jesus died. But why on earth would they call that “good” Friday? All this flies through my head in the space of about five seconds and I realize again, even at 44, how much I still have to learn.
Anyway, side note: Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper and leads us into the period of time when we remember the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
This year it also happened to be the day my children decided to flat-out ask BS if the Easter Bunny and Santa are real.
I’m seeing this today in a different light; I can even laugh a little at the timing of it. Yesterday, when BS called to warn me this question had popped out (and been tabled for discussion) on the way to school, all I could think was You killed the Easter Bunny. And Santa. Like Maundy Thursday isn’t depressing enough. And then I wondered all day what on earth I would say when the kids hit me with this after school.
Well, apparently they were anxious about asking me this particular question, because they didn’t bring it up again until they were outside with BS while he was grilling dinner. So that is how we ended up finishing our family dinner with my hubby asking the kids if they wanted to talk with me about their question from that morning. And when they turned to me to ask, “Is the Easter bunny real? Or are you the Easter bunny?” I instantly knew that nothing but the truth would be enough.
I asked them what the true meaning of Easter is, and we talked a little about what Easter really means to us as Christians. How important it is to remember the sacrifice on Friday and then the joy on Sunday morning. How truly big and serious and awe-inspiring those events were so long ago. I commented on how grown up they are now, and how this makes it possible for them to really understand the joy of this season. Then I asked if they thought little kids could really understand all of that, and they know enough little kids to answer that with an emphatic no.
So yeah, I killed the Easter bunny yesterday. I explained that no, the Easter bunny isn’t real, it’s something that parents like to do so their little children will feel the joy and excitement of Easter even before they can understand why it should be that way.
I thought I’d be crushed by this conversation — I’d been dreading it all day. But instead it gave us a wonderful chance to talk about Easter and Jesus and the beauty of growing up into young people who can experience meaningful joy at this time of year.
Now, lest I sound like a Hallmark card, my kids are kids. The first question once we were done was, “Does this mean it stops??” Because who doesn’t want Easter baskets and stockings and presents and such. And my kids were extremely relieved to hear that yes, we still plan to celebrate the holidays with them. But that just made me smile all the more…they were ready for the truth, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still our munchkins. Maundy Thursday turned out to be a pretty good day after all.