At Easter, I find myself thinking about sacred Scripture. Specifically, I think about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
That’s because around noon on Easter Sunday, a huge body of God’s faithful begin arriving at our house. They are family, and they have been crossing the Red Sea and walking through our front door for more than three decades.
Christmas and Thanksgiving happen at other family homes. Easter is ours and ours alone.
My wife and I know it’s coming and begin preparing weeks ahead. By preparing I mean we talk about what needs to be done. We make lists, set priorities. We set aside a solid three weeks to clean the house and repair winter’s ravages outside.
The trees have shed twigs and branches. Leaves left over from fall have collected into a hundred cracks and crevices. The deck is dirty and the patio furniture has turned an eerie shade of green.
Even after extensive planning, we usually don’t get to work until two days before Easter. My wife cleans, tidies and cooks madly while I rake, scrub and repair. Saturday, just before dark, we call it quits, collapse into amorphous heaps and tell ourselves we’ve done our best.
Easter morning a few last-minute tasks unfold. A floor needs sweeping. Chairs need to be set up. Then comes noon and everything changes. People come by twos and threes. Some we’ve seen recently. Others have been absent for long periods. All bring the gifts of Easter joy.
They also bring food. Lots of food. For hours, everyone migrates from room to room, catching up on all things family. We are all a year older. There are new arrivals and significant others. The food disappears.
Then, it’s time for the egg hunt, a part of the day that has been rehearsed and perfected year after year. The older kids hide the eggs all around our big back yard while the younger set lines up, baskets in hand, waiting for the word to start.
Years ago, when I lived on a farm, I walked into the barn one day and the wind slammed the door behind me. The sudden noise set a couple hundred pigeons flying madly throughout the barn trying to escape. That image returned to me Sunday as a large gaggle of children rocketed off in all directions in search of Easter eggs.
As the day dwindled, sleepy youngsters curled up on sofas. Parents gathered belongings and eased toward their cars accompanied by plates of leftovers.
Later we sat among the remnants of the day and counted our blessings, knowing they will sustain us until next year when we do it all again.