When I was little Easter meant the Service of Light, we’d all arrive at church ridiculously early, just before dawn, or a bit later on the years that Easter was really late and we’d huddle in the dark, sitting on the floor in the little room at the back of church, the only light a dim sliver as the thick curtain over the door was lifted to let in new arrivals. And when it was time to start we’d all process out into the light, around the church and finally out into the porch to take the Easter light from fire crackling in the brazier. It was a service of song and celebration and I loved it, not least because it was followed by the most fantastic bring and share breakfast. For me Easter still smells like boiled eggs and kedgeree and the most enormous pot of Nancy’s bircher museli. And then after breakfast we’d have an egg hunt around the churchyard, looking for tiny glimmers of foil in walls and trees and staring through the electric fence to see if the sheep had eaten any (I grew up in Devon, sheep grazing the churchyard wasn’t that strange).
I’ve been thinking about my childhood Easters, and the ones before they were born (including one fabulous church service that involved letting go of a hundred or so helium balloons and watching them float up into the roof) and about the memories that I want to help the children build. Part of my would love to take them back home for a Service of Light and I think if they’re still doing them someday we will, but I know that part of the magic was that I was a child, and part of it was the people who made up that church, the babble of us children and their parents who probably weren’t much older than I am now (which is a very scary thought) and I know that it wouldn’t be the same. And so it’s time to find some new Easter traditions, to start to build them up year on year so that one day, when my trio are all grown up they will look back on Easter as a very special time and full of memories that they want to share with their children.
It’s a funny part of growing up isn’t it, that gradual shift from recreating your own childhood traditions to making new blended ones.
My childhood Easters were full of memories and they were wonderful. But we’re starting as we mean to go on because I know for a fact that there’s going to be an Easter egg hunt around the churchyard today, and possibly even another hunt later on in the day with the grandparents. There will be chocolate and running around and music and joy. It’s not a bad way to start is it?