This week, we’ll be posting ideas and traditions from our Multiply Goodness authors on how they remember the Savior and prepare their hearts for Easter during this holiest of weeks. We hope you’ll join us and find some inspiration. And we hope you’ll share your traditions and ideas with us as well.
It is Saturday, and in a few hours darkness will pull its shadowy blanket up the side of the mountain. Come morning, light will break over these white-hooded peaks in an Easter sunrise. A symbol of the Son who rose, unfettered and glorious, with healing in his wings.
Yesterday, the limbs hung heavy with April snow. But Wednesday, the blossoms were budding big on my mother’s pear tree, dotting branches with clusters of white.
After eating lunch on Grandma’s patio, we began our Easter Walk. I worried that maybe this year the tradition wouldn’t be as exciting, but I was wrong. Familiarity and expectation increased the excitement. Everyone gathered as we read verses aloud. It was an opportunity to hand down truth, pass along phrases our children will remember. And in the cool shade, they listened.
Our Easter Walk has become my favorite Easter tradition. Based on this book by Deborah Pace Rowley, it’s a short “Treasure Hunt for the real meaning of Easter.”
You can do it anywhere – a park, a wooded trail, your own backyard.
We chose my Mother’s yard for its wide spaces, the variety of flowers, the fruit trees in bloom, and her garden lying fallow. It’s a nature preserve of its own.
Rowley’s book tells the tender story of a young family who recently lost their mother. Their Grandfather starts a thoughtful tradition that the children look forward to each year. He takes them on an Easter walk and they look for “treasures” that tell the story of the Savior’s last week – a journey that reminds them they will see their mother again.
My Mother led the girls across the grass for their first find. She knows the harshest bushes, the sharpest thorns and where they grow. So she took Ali there, clippers in hand, to the berberi bushes. My girls felt the pointed thorns, sharp as needles, as my mom clipped branches for them and explained what it must have felt like for Jesus to have these placed upon his head. They had found their first clue. Something to represent the crown of thorns.
Second clue? Something made of wood to represent the cross. Eliza found my Dad’s woodpile and all the kids pulled out kindling, tried to imagine Jesus carrying a piece of wood the length of a tree as he trudged through Jerusalem’s crowded streets. Then I told them of the nails, the suffering, the heartlessness of it all. Even now, I have trouble watching movies that depict the crucifixion. It’s hard to fathom something so inhumane, so cruel.
Then we tried to find something black to represent the darkness at Jesus’ death. Each of the girls found a piece of charred wood from the fire pit, carried it daintily to me, then dropped it into their sacks.
Next clue was to find something that would represent the Savior’s death. Ali picked up this withered, brown leaf. Sami found one similar. I actually found a dead worm, crusted in the dirt. Great for examining and discussing, but not necessarily picture-worthy.
About this time Spencer fell off the swing and strained his ankle (my best diagnosis after removing his shoes, checking joint range of motion and watching him limp). He’s fine now, but the sweet boy didn’t want to be left behind, he wanted so much to keep up, despite his whimpering. So I sat him down with a popsicle to wait for us.
As we headed off for our next clue, Spence called out, “But I don’t have a brother. I… need a brother!” So Gordon turned around, sat down next to him, and the two shared popsicles together.
That twin bond some days is so evident, so strong. And with all our talk of the Savior, I kept thinking of Spencer’s words – of his need to have a brother – someone to stay with him so he wouldn’t be left alone. And I felt grateful for our Brother, the one who knows, who stays, and will not leave us.
“I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you” (John 14:18).
This might just be my favorite find of the day. Sami’s stone. Which represents, of course, the stone placed in front of the tomb. It is oval and smooth at the edges, yet small. As if to symbolize the smallness of man’s efforts to keep the Son of God from rising as he promised. Nothing kept him from his mission. No soldiers, no tetrarchs, no stones.
Step into the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem and you will read some of the most marvelous words ever spoken. They are carved onto the wooden door.
“He is not here. For He is risen” (Matthew 28:6).
The girls were anxious for this last clue, asking all along if it was time yet. “Can we pick a flower? Can we pick a flower now?” Finally, we read our last verse and my Mom let the girls pick flowers from anywhere in her garden, a handful if they’d like. To represent new life, and the reality that Jesus lives again.
This post was originally published on Catherine’s personal blog. If you’d like to read more about her family’s Easter traditions, we know you’ll love exploring these links as well: