“Mom! Easter sunrise breakfast!” called my bleary-eyed but excited daughter. Since anticipation is part of the fun, I told her about our new tradition before she went to sleep on Saturday night so she was ready to hold me accountable the next morning. “We’re still doing it, right?”
With two clergy parents, Sundays can be a bit hectic for our family. And EASTER Sunday? Well, let’s just say the bunny doesn’t visit our house. He’s too tired.
But I want Easter to be special. I want it to be about more than egg hunts and baskets. I want it to be about more than church. I know that sounds strange, but my kids get a LOT of church – and they love it. We love it. We need it. A Christian community that worships, prays, learns and serves together is vital for faith development.
But we can’t just read the Bible at church. And my kids need to hear me pray not just at the front of the sanctuary, but at the dinner table and the bedside and even (sometimes) early in the morning, wrapped up in blankets in the front yard. Because the most important faith mentors in the life of a child are not their Sunday School teachers or their youth group leaders or even their pastors. Children learn faith from their families – from their parents and grandparents and all the many beautiful iterations of kinship.
Parents, if we want our kids to know God, if we want our kids to love Jesus, if we want our kids to feel the joy of Holy Spirit or learn the holy stories, it’s on us.
It’s a big responsibility (even for pastor parents, believe me), and it does require a little thought and effort (even for pastor parents), but it’s not a burden. And it doesn’t have to be hard. God is all around us, and opportunities to weave faith into our daily lives abound.
That’s why I love Traci Smith’s book, “Faithful Families.” She offers simple, powerful practices for all the ordinary and extraordinary moments of family life. From long car rides, interminable rainy days, and mealtime mania to birthdays, new schools, and even times of tragedy and grief, Smith does most of the thinking and a good bit of the work to provide a ceremony, a prayer, a discussion, or an activity to make it holy. Her work is easy to access and adapt to fit the rhythms of different families. If you spend 5 minutes with this book, you’ll find something that makes you say, “we’ve gotta try that!”
Easter is a busy day for us, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have time for each other. So we gathered the powdered sugar donuts, mixed the chocolate milk, poured the coffee and set out across the front yard to find the perfect spot to watch the sunrise.
“Early in the morning, while it was still dark the women set out for the tomb…” I began the story.
“Just like us! It’s early! It’s dark but it’s getting light…” my 4 year old son interrupted.
Yes, just like us.