Did the Easter Bunny Come?

When my husband and I got to church and sat down in the pew behind our son, Peter, who was helping to pass the sacrament, he turned to us and said his friend wanted to know if the Easter Bunny came to our house this morning.

After an inital answer and some thought, I told Peter, “No, the Easter Bunny didn’t come.”

When our children were little, I didn’t want to tell them things that weren’t true or that seemed ridiculous to me. (In saying this, I don’t mean to offend anyone who enjoys our United States holiday traditions.) People dressed up in bunny suits always seemed a little frightening to me! I wanted something different for them. I wanted the focus of our holiday to be on the Savior. So when it came time for Easter, our traditions have included an egg hunt on Saturday, reviewing the events that happened around the atonement, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a new Sunday outfit for our children, which we laid out on our bed Sunday morning. We taught them that the new clothing was to remind them of the resurrection, and how

“On resurrection morning, I’ll take my body bright

And in celestial glory forever live in light.”  (“The Lord Gave Me a Temple,” Children’s Songbook, p.153)
We do have some household decorations of eggs and even some bunnies in a musical water globe that plays “Easter Parade” that we were given one year. But we tried focus our activities on why we celebrate Easter: to rejoice in what Jesus Christ did for us so we can overcome death and sin and be an eternal family. I put out children’s stories that tell about Jesus and his love and gifts for us.
This month has been so busy. We haven’t really had time to look much for Easter dresses, and as the month went along, the children had different needs besides new Sunday attire. They understand about our limited clothing budget, and so they are practical and helpful in their attitudes. There weren’t sadness when we didn’t have a new Easter dress or shirt and tie and argyle socks in spring colors. I was really touched at their flexibility and maturity.  We also didn’t boil and dye eggs or have Easter candy.  Even though these are fun traditions, the children are older and had been focusing together on other special and important activities such as a family bridal shower.
Attending church today really helped us to think about the Savior. Our church choir director had worked so hard to invite members of all ages to help with sacrament meeting. Five Primary children narrated a nearly all-music sacrament meeting. There were solos and a violin-cello trio and choir numbers all about the Savior, his atonement and the resurrection. The talk at the end about the Savior helped me to feel close to the Lord and encouraged me as I deal with my personal challenges. It was so Spirit-filled, so peace-giving. It was one of my favorite Easter Sundays ever!
When we got home, we worked together to get dinner in the oven and our special meal prepared. Then my mom came over and we visited and ate together. During dinner, everyone answered two questions: first, what is one reason the atonement and resurrection are important to you? After we had gone around the table and everyone had answered, we asked each person to share their favorite scripture about the Savior. It was such a sweet experience hearing each child and parent share, that I hope we can do this every year. We did have one Easter candy on each plate: a Reese’s peanut butter egg. We definitely enjoyed it!
And you know what? I really loved Easter this year! It was simple. It was peaceful. It was satisfying.
It was enough.
The Easter Bunny didn’t come. But Christ did. And that made all the difference. It made a difference to me, when I woke up feeling overwhelmed by some of the challenges we face personally and prayed for strength before going to church. After my meetings, I didn’t forget our troubles. I just had perspective on them again, and courage to press forward, having felt again in my heart and remembering in my mind that the Savior has been through everything and will help me through what I need to go through. I felt renewed. I felt happy. That made all the difference to me today.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20)

(The Young Women in our ward sang this in our sacrament meeting today. They sang it beautifully, as does this darling 3 year old.)

 (Sorry that most of the paragraphs in this post are stuck together. I can’t get there to be spacing between the lines. Hmmm. I need to learn some html or something so I can fix stuff like this….)

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