Our family is big on traditions; especially around holidays. Easter is no exception. My wife, Amy started our main Easter tradition when our oldest sons were just tiny. We had a huge yard and my wife hid candy eggs, plastic eggs, boiled eggs, colored eggs, chocolate eggs… are there more kinds of eggs? If there are, I am just forgetting because she would have hidden them too. Then she turned the boys loose.
We have been fortunate in our family in that the youngest of our first four children has Down syndrome. His older brothers were always more interested in making sure that he got his share of the bounty rather that turning an Easter egg hunt into a scientific proof, demonstrating Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Of course each of them looked out for themselves while helping Jack, but by the time the hunt was over, baskets were pretty much equal.
Our children had experienced enough Easter eggs hunts to know what was supposed to happen, so it was with great dismay that Steve cracked open one of the plastic eggs, finding it completely empty. He took it straight to his mother so that she could correct the wrong. Instead, Amy sat down on the grass with four little boys and talked about “empty.”
She told them of the friends of One who had died nearly two thousand years earlier; how He was buried by them and how they returned to the tomb to care for His body on the third day following His death.
Four little boys listened intently while tears streamed down their young mother’s face as she spoke of disappointment. She asked how they would feel. What if they had first lost their best friend, and then been robbed of the chance to even care for His body?
Some of my sons stayed tough, trying to imitate their father, who didn’t learn to cry until orphans later taught him. Another one cried, just like his mother. Even so, on that day, my sons learned the significance of Empty. They learned about resurrection and rising from the grave. They learned about faith. They learned about hope. They learned about the greatest of all; Love.
My wife has used that teaching method with all of our children as they joined our family, each time has been with great success. It never ceases to amaze me that Amy taught a million-dollar lesson with a five-cent plastic egg and a lack of candy. Now, in our family, the race to fill baskets is secondary to being the one who finds the most desired prize. Everyone wants to be the one who cracks open the empty egg; to have the privilege of taking it to their mother and initiating the conversation about the real reason that Christians celebrate Easter and have adapted its original traditions to teach a greater message of ultimate love and sacrifice.
Happy Easter. I hope that our little tradition can spread into your family and join in with your own. I hope that you share our tradition with your friends and family so that it might help other children to understand that “empty” is the greatest miracle this world has ever seen.