Cheryl grew up in a community where the resurrection of Christ carried over from Sunday to Monday and children enjoyed fun activities.
Easter Monday Was A Big Deal
When I was growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s celebrating Christ rising from the dead was a big deal for most Christians This was long before our modern time, where many churches choose to say Resurrection Sunday and schools refer to time off as a spring break. Back then schools were closed the day after Easter Sunday and we called it Easter Monday. It was not only a day out of school but a time to carry over the celebration of our Lord rising from the dead. Every child had received a visit from the Easter Bunny and was enjoying chocolate candy, jellybeans, a chocolate rabbit, and also chocolate eggs. There would also be Easter egg hunts at our Baptist church or the homes of neighbors.
One year, when I was about seven or eight, for reasons unknown, my great grandma who helped raise me said I could not go to the church egg hunt. At about 2:00 PM that afternoon, I watched from my front porch as my cousins and friends ran past my yard on their way to look for dyed eggs. Several shouted for me to come along and I almost cried because I felt so left out. After a few moments, I did something I had not done before and that was to disobey great granny. While she was in the kitchen I ran as fast as I could across the field to the church which was less than a block away. The anticipation of searching for those eggs with other children thrilled me and the joy of finding them and filling my basket overflowed my heart.
Big trouble from some little eggs
When I returned home with my basket full of eggs, I gleefully showed them to my great grandmother. Being a little girl, I thought she would be happy that I was so successful, but I was wrong. She rolled her eyes at me and turned her back and did not speak to me for the rest of the day. I was crushed. I walked past her twice with my basket, holding it up for her to see but in the language, I grew up with, great granny put the "ig" on me, meaning she completely ignored me. That memory comes flooding back to me each spring even though it has been more than five decades. My great grandma died in 1975 and I never thought to ask her what was so wrong with me hunting eggs with the neighborhood children? If she had scolded me, whipped me or at least explained her position I would have felt a lot better, but instead, she simply refused to talk to me and I felt so alone.
There was one Easter Monday when my cousins who lived a few houses away had an egg hunt. We collected the boiled dyed eggs, re-hid them and hunted for them three or four times. We were not very thorough, however. because during the summer as we were playing hide and seek, several of us stepped on those old eggs and boy did they stink. After that, we only used plastic eggs. On a different Easter Monday, the same cousins hosted the egg hunt. They had a big black dog named Taco who ran with us as we tried to find the eggs. Taco found a few and made off with them, and it was so funny we all had a good laugh. Something that was not so humorous was when several of the family's new baby chicks got out of the hen house and began running between our feet as we were trying to find the eggs. Two of them got trampled on and it was quite troubling. Outside of that the Monday after Easter was a wonderful day in my neighborhood.
Children will be children
In later years, my mother would have egg hunts for all of her grandchildren after Easter Sunday dinner using plastic eggs filled with candy. My children and their cousins would reuse the plastic eggs on Monday and repeat hiding and finding them as my friends and I did decades earlier. On Easter Monday in 1990, I hosted an egg hunt at the home where we had moved only a few months earlier. I thought it would be a good way for my children to meet the neighborhood kids but something unexpected happened. I was walking from the back yard to go in the front door, and a girl who lived across the street was on my porch fighting my oldest son. He was trying not to hit her back and was attempting to push her away but she was swinging like a wildcat. I was shocked because I never dreamed anyone would be fighting on Easter Monday. This girl was a bully and wanted my son to know that she thought she ruled the neighborhood. What a welcome to our new home, but some children will behave badly no matter what the occasion.
He Is Risen
In the midst of being out of school, hunting Easter eggs and enjoying the candy from our baskets there is the Resurrection of Christ. For my family and friends, this is what Easter Monday is all about. It was always the day to reflect after church service, the pageant and all the Sunday celebrations were over. Easter Monday, even when I was a child always caused me to reflect on the empty tomb. Each year, whether the holiday came in March or April, even as I have grown older, the Monday after the Resurrection always causes me to reflect on the sacrifice Christ made for us. The egg hunts, candy and bunnies did not distract from His resurrection, but in my heart was a continuation of the after glo of Resurrection Sunday.
The bottom line to the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox is that true Christians believe He rose from the dead and will soon return. It's that simple even though some people like actress Jame Fonda say they are Christian but do not believe He died for our sins. The dyed eggs, chocolate, and the egg hunts are but seasonal activities which anyone can enjoy. The blessed hope of His second coming, however, is at the root of it all for true believers. The festivities on Easter Monday are an extension of the joy felt on Resurrection Sunday. Even as an adult, when I had to work on Easter Monday, I could still reflect silently on the blessed hope of life eternal. The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 15:19 " If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Ev n now w with the coronavirus we still have the blessed hope of eternal life. Apostle Paul said to do all things as unto the Lord.(Colossians 3:23) He also spoke of how we can each esteem days differently. (Romans 14:5) I enjoy both Resurrection Sunday and Easter Monday because He lives.