Easter is one of the few times you will read a religious post on here. My religion is the one thing I feel is very personal but being that my faith in God is so strong, I feel it would be remiss if I did not write a post about Easter. To purposely avoid it, would just be weird for me. I believe in a risen Christ so yesterday was our big holiday. If you are not into Easter and don’t celebrate, feel free to stop reading. I won’t be offended. This post is not for you. This post is for my children to someday read.
We decided a long time ago that for all the fun traditions associated with the holidays; elves, Santa, Bunnies and Leprechauns, my children would always know the true meaning of why we celebrate these religious holidays and holy days of obligation. This is why on Good Friday, as a family, we watched the Passion of the Christ.
I know what you are thinking; you watched the Passion of the Christ with a 5 and 8 year old? Yes, I did. But Debi, it’s so violent. It is but in my faith, this is what we believe happened to Jesus. This is the sacrifice he made for us and why shouldn’t my children understand this? This is the reason we celebrate Easter, it has nothing to do with bunnies or eggs and everything to do with new beginnings, salvation and resurrection. I want them to fully understand that and appreciate the sacrifice made for them.
I have not watched The Passion of the Christ since it originally came out in the theater. When I sat watching it the first time, I bawled like a baby. I assumed my primal response was hormones because I was pregnant. It was so emotionally taxing for me to watch that I spent the entire 2+ hours sobbing like a baby who’d lost his mommy.
Friday, I watched it, for the first time, as a mother and not only was I moved by the sacrifice and what was endured for our salvation but I wept for his mother, Mary, who had to watch as her child was whipped, beaten, mocked, crucified and ultimately died.
Even if that was what he was born to do and she knew it and he knew it and had accepted this destiny, to watch it happen would be grueling. As a mother, you’d want to hurt the person hurting your baby and you’d want to protect them from the pain. No mother ever wants to see her child get hurt; to have to be witness to their death would be too much.
Watching as a mother gave me new perspective and made it that much harder to endure. I once again silently sobbed in the dark for 2 hours straight. In the end, my eyes hurt and I was emotionally drained but I was grateful.
My 8-year-old daughter sat quietly taking it all in, while my 5-year-old fell fast asleep about 30 minutes into it. For the first time, the story of the crucifixion was brought to life for my daughter. It moved me to see her compassion.
Sunday, we went to Easter mass and she sang a little louder, was a little more reverent than usual and seemed to have a greater understanding of what it all meant.
This will be our new tradition. We will watch The Passion of the Christ together every year on Good Friday to remind us of why we are celebrating on Easter Sunday and why our Lenten sacrifices are small in comparison to what was given up for us.
Take this, all of you, and eat of it:
for this is my body which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
for this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant.
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins .
Do this in memory of me.
How do you celebrate and explain religious holidays to your small children?