5 Ways to Celebrate Easter in Lockdown

A couple of years ago, finding time to gather over the Easter weekend challenged our family. The traditions of childhood did not fit anymore and we needed to find…

A couple of years ago, finding time to gather over the Easter weekend challenged our family. The traditions of childhood did not fit anymore and we needed to find new ways to gather and celebrate.

My sister found a bakery that was advertising weird hot cross bun flavours and our family decided that we should find out what all the fuss was about. On Easter Saturday, we convoyed out to the bakery and selected the weirdest flavours we could find. We took them to a nearby dam where we feasted on our bounty. We had such a good time; we created a new tradition of it, enjoying non-traditional baked goods by the dam every Easter since.

This year has brought change for all of us. Our regular family traditions may not be possible and this Easter could be looking very different for you and your family. So how can we adapt for our current situation or create new traditions to gather and celebrate?

Here are 5 tips for adapting or making new traditions:

  1. Grieve the loss

This year will not be the same and that fact might be painful. We have had to cancel: Going to Good Friday Mass/Service (in the traditional sense), Easter Sunday family lunch, the annual long weekend camping trip, and/or visiting nanna. Ouch! These losses hurt because they are important; they are the rituals we enact to express our individual and shared identity. We need to acknowledge the loss and allow others and ourselves to grieve.

  1. Invite change to be your friend

Festive seasons, such as Christmas and Easter are “high traffic” times in family calendars and schedules. We unconsciously commit ourselves to so many activities and events because it is what we have always done, and presume that it is what we should always do. By the end, we are exhausted and wonder why we put ourselves through it again. Traditions should be meaningful (see below) and express things we value. This year you may find your family calendar wide open. Perhaps this is your opportunity to examine what really is important for you and your family and focus on that, clearing out the festive hustle.

  1. Make it meaningful

We keep traditions because; a) we enjoy them b) they hold significance for us and/or others. Starting new traditions will require finding meaning and purpose in what we do. Just because another family is engaging in a particular activity does not mean that your family has to. This as an opportunity for your family to discuss what you believe the best parts of Easter are, and why. Use this conversation as a springboard to create moments that mean something.

  1. Keep it simple

When we envision traditions, often we get a glossy postcard picture in our minds – what they are supposed to look like. Unfortunately, reality rarely matches this expectation and the pressure of making things perfect ends up adding unnecessary complexity to our days. When starting new traditions, less is more. Do not try to replace everything. Pick one or two moments that are the most important to you and your family and find a simple alternative.

  1. Be prepared

This is less about making sure you have all the ingredients/equipment you need for your new tradition (though that is important) and more about its success or failure. Starting new traditions is not an exact science; you cannot guarantee success. Be prepared for this experiment to flop and to have a good laugh about it. Your family is testing out new material and that includes a risk of failure. Shake off the pressure to be perfect, and have fun with it. Maybe your new tradition will stick and your family will have discovered a new way for them to share what is important with each other. Succeed or fail, you will have gathered and celebrated and that is the ultimate win.

About the author…

Tess is a former school chaplain and youth pastor with 15 years of experience in youth work. She now serves as SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team Leader, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. She holds a bachelor of communications and diploma of youth work.    

Posted: 7/04/2020

Some Parenting Advice for the Christmas Season

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so…

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so driven by and focused on achieving goals, it is clear that many parents have taken their eyes off the best gift to give to those you helped bring into this world.

Take a moment to reflect on your goals for your kids. For many it is providing a good education, setting them up for a good job, finding a life partner or a healthy lifestyle. As important as these may be, there is one goal that sits atop the list.

The biblical teaching clearly sets the home/family as the primary center for faith formation and nurture. As Christian parents our highest ideal is that our children will find the faith that we have and become lifelong, active followers of Jesus. To provide extra support, God has provided the gathered church, grandparents, extended family members, friends and mentors.

So what strategies and priorities are you setting in the everyday dance steps of life to work towards achieving that goal? Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” is a proverb (not a promise) that will most often be realised if we work hard at it.

Reflect on your week and consider how much time is being invested into this one goal. The only screens at the meal table should be the reflections in the eyes of each of the family members present as we listen to, and reflect biblically, on the events of our day. What family traditions are we implementing? What are we sacrificing as parents to create the time and energy into this one goal for our children? This is not about quoting Scriptures at our children all day – it is about seeing faith as a natural and intentional ingredient in our daily life. It is vital that we explore the big and the small questions of life around table conversations, windscreen conversations, bedtime conversations…. all of which flow from the words of Deuteronomy 6.

Can you add these ‘gifts’ for your family to your list?

  1. Get back to the meal table (a ‘screen-free zone’) with your family on a regular basis. Listen, laugh, struggle and journey together.
  2. Celebrate together the ‘seasons/events’ in your family year – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, holidays, first/last days at school, etc.
  3. Create your Family Traditions: choose your own meal on your birthday; write affirming words in all birthday cards to each other; family ‘treat’ after church; reading the Christmas story around a candle; etc.
  4. Write down a short list of goals for your children and develop some priorities that will work towards achieving them.
  5. Have fun together. Start and maintain an ever-growing list of activities you can all enjoy together – and make the time to tick them off.

So finish this sentence: One gift I will bring to my family this Christmas Season is … ?

Merry Christmas, everyone! Wishing every blessing upon you and your family in this special time.

Terry Williams
Family & Children’s Ministry Specialist
Scripture Union Queensland & International

Posted: 5/12/2019

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