Our Easter traditions continue to evolve with our girls’ understanding of our faith in general — and Easter specifically. But this simple tradition is our very favorite.
It’s slightly more meaningful when Easter falls in March and the sun sets earlier, but my girls have been talking about it all week nonetheless, and we’ll let them stay up a little later for the next two nights so that they can fully appreciate it:
At 3pm on Good Friday, the time the Bible says that Jesus breathed his last breath, we turn out any lights that are on. As it begins to get dark later that evening, we light candles instead of turning lights on, in a kind of simplified, not-quite-Tenebrae service at home.
We continue to live by candlelight until Sunday morning, when we excitedly turn them back on and rejoice that Jesus has risen.
Admittedly, one of the things I love about this tradition is its simplicity. There’s nothing we need to buy or prepare ahead of time, and it’s not dependent on the kids paying attention or being in the mood to participate. We do talk about why we were doing it — to symbolize Jesus’ death and separation from God for the three days until His resurrection — but it’s a conversation, not a structured lesson.
This morning we also read the story of Jesus’ crucfiction in the Jesus Storybook Bible…and then we shut the book without reading about his resurrection — despite many protests — to think about how his disciples must have felt, not knowing what was to come.
We’ll prepare our resurrection rolls by candlelight tomorrow night, and then we’ll bake them Sunday morning for breakfast and read the rest of the story.
All in all, it’s a simple way to remember Jesus’ death and sacrifice — one that our girls really seem to get — and it makes our Easter celebration even brighter. A poignant reminder that there wouldn’t be a celebration on Easter morning without the sacrifice and pain of Good Friday!
What are your favorite Easter traditions?