“To me, Easter means Holy Week services (in Pell City) and the sacrifice Jesus made,” said Matt Mitcham. “Jesus died for our sins and we come together to celebrate that event and what was given to us in our lives.”
Mitcham said his family also gets together on Easter.
“We have our family dinner at our house and the family Easter egg hunt for the kids,” he said. “It’s a happy medium—you need to have the religious side of Easter, the meaning of it. But you also need to enjoy it. The Easter egg hunt is especially important for the kids. It introduces them to the meaning of Easter and they have fun doing it.”
For Eleanor Clinkscales, Easter means gathering donations of food to make baskets for community members in need.
“I do anything I can to help the community,” she said.
Clinkscales said she and other volunteers with Refuge Ministries spent much of Thursday driving and delivering Easter food baskets to St. Clair County residents.
“We gave out 170 food baskets,” she said. “All over—Springville to Ragland and Steele to the Shelby County line.”
Clinkscales said her Easter Sunday will include Easter dinner with her daughter in Lincoln.
Matthew Brazzolotto, 17, said although he enjoyed receiving Easter baskets full of candy and toys when he was younger, the religious aspect holds much more meaning for him now.
“You have to be careful about that because Easter is not about candy and toys and the Easter Bunny,” he said.
Brazzolotto said families should make sure the religious aspect of Easter comes first.
“Easter means that God became man and because He loved us so much He died and conquered death by rising again and giving us eternal life,” he said.
Brazzolotto said his family still enjoys candy, and the whole family gets together on Easter Sunday.
“We mostly just eat and spend time together as a family, and go to church,” he said.
Many people find a good balance between the religious remembrance of Easter and the happy children who hunt for Easter eggs and enjoy Easter baskets full of goodies.
“There is sometimes a tension between the commercialization and secularization of holidays and the religious origin and celebration of it,” said the Rev. Nathan Carden, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Pell City. “For a religious group, you find ways of retaining the religious elements in the cultural expression.”
Carden said many holidays, such as Easter, come from “holy days” that were celebrated as a communal gathering and festival.
“Keep in mind too that God created us to enjoy one another, enjoy relationships and enjoy life,” he said. “He created us in His image, and wants us to be human. The celebration of an Easter egg hunt with all of its joyful festivities arises from our joy that Christ has been raised and we can experience God’s salvation. You can find ways of expressing your faith within these celebrations.”
Carden said he doesn’t believe the enjoyment of hunting for Easter eggs takes away at all from Christ in Easter.
“Our church hosts the multi-denominational Holy Week services each year, as well as additional services throughout the Easter week,” he said. “We also have an Easter egg hunt for the kids. You can do both. It’s the way in which you do these things that matters.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.