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Celebrating New Life
By Susan Hines-Brigger

Q U I C K S C A N

A Living Example
Ways to Celebrate
For Teens: A Garden for Others
For Kids: Beautiful Butterflies

As an avid gardener, I love the arrival of springtime. I am constantly amazed by the miracle of rebirth that I witness each year in my garden.

So for me it seems only logical that we should celebrate Easter (March 27 this year) just as the earth is beginning to come back to life. After all, just when the disciples thought Jesus had left them for good, he returned to them as he had promised.

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A Living Example

Each spring, as I prepare my garden for the coming year and myself for Easter, I am reminded once again to make room for God in all aspects of my life.

During Lent, we struggle to clear away all the debris that has been piling up and cluttering our lives in order to be reborn on Easter. Sometimes it seems like a futile task. But just as I know that I have to gather up the leaves and sticks left by fall and winter storms so that the new flowers can emerge, I’m reminded that I have to clear a path within myself.

There have been many times when I’m sure that the flower bulbs I so carefully planted the previous fall aren’t going to bloom or have fallen prey to some creature during the long, cold winter. But then I will see a tiny green leaf beginning to poke through the soil. Point well taken—have faith.

Trust, hope, faith, new life—all these Easter themes play out before my eyes. They remind me of God’s plan for me—and the world around me.

Ways to Celebrate

Easter, the most important celebration of our faith, is rich with symbols and reminders of God’s love for us. Here are some suggestions for ways to remind ourselves of the gifts of Easter:

• Take a trip to a zoo, farm or park. Try to locate all the different signs of new life that you see.

• Gather the family and spend the day in the garden. If it’s too early to plant in your area, spend the day getting your garden ready for planting or for emerging plants. Try planting a theme garden this year. The books Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations and Healing Plants of the Bible: History, Lore and Meditations, by Vincenzina Krymow (both from St. Anthony Messenger Press), offer some ideas. Or for a more whimsical idea, try planting a pizza garden with tomatoes, herbs, peppers, etc.

• Many of the symbols of Easter represent new life in some way, like Easter eggs, lambs, bunny rabbits and certain types of baked goods, such as hot cross buns. Identify some of these symbols and discover what they represent. You may already know this, or you may need to look for the information in a book or on the Internet.

• Check to see if your parish offers any seasonal activities. Our parish often has booklets in the back of church with various reflections and activities for the Lenten and Easter season. Check the bulletin to see if your parish is sponsoring any family activities during the Easter season.

Next Month: Celebrating New Life

 

For Teens: A Garden for Others

Most gardeners I know plant flowers or vegetables simply for personal enjoyment. And while that’s perfectly understandable, why not plan a garden with the express purpose of giving away your harvest?

Now is the perfect time to search through seed catalogs and even start your plants indoors. There are lots of books and Web sites that can provide instructions.

Then after you figure out what to grow, come up with a game plan for what to do with the food or flowers that you grow. If you decide to grow vegetables, perhaps you could donate them to a local food co-op, or you could turn them into tasty treats for others. If you plant flowers, you could make bouquets or floral arrangements and bring them to a local nursing home or to church.

For Kids: Beautiful Butterflies

Ever since I was little, the symbol that best says spring and new life to me has been the butterfly. Now you can make your own beautiful butterflies to welcome spring.

Take tissue paper or coffee filters and either color them or paint them with watered-down paint. After they have dried, gather the tissue paper or filter together in the middle and secure it with a pipe cleaner. Attach two shorter pipe cleaners to the first pipe cleaner to make the antennae. When you’re all finished, hang the butterflies throughout the house as a reminder of new life in spring.

You can also plant some flowers in your garden that will attract real butterflies.

 

Do you have ideas or suggestions for topics you'd like to see addressed in this column? If so, send them to me at “Faith-filled Family,” 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-6498, or e-mail them to Family@franciscanmedia.org.


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