As the grass turns green and the bluebonnets bloom, our family feels a renewed energy. The days are warm enough to start outdoor projects like gardening, and the nights are comfortably cool to keep windows open. And even though we aren’t a religious family, we look forward to one of our favorite holidays: Easter.
Like other families, we love Easter for its traditions, and we make every attempt to spend it with friends and loved ones. We dress in cute outfits, prepare a special meal, and laugh and enjoy an Easter egg hunt in our backyard, courtesy of the Easter Bunny. Because our daughter is 21 months old, this will be her first egg hunt afoot, which we’re eagerly anticipating to see her frenzied reaction. Last Easter, we placed a few eggs barely out of reach to encourage her to crawl.
If invited to church by friends, we typically accept as we have no hard feelings about religion; it’s simply not for us. Attending service with friends is educational, and a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with people we enjoy.
A bit of background: My husband was raised in the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints in Washington State. He chose to leave the church in his late teens because he disagreed with the church’s core teachings. His family is still active and respects his decisions to be a non-member, and we couldn’t love or appreciate them more for that.
I grew up attending church every other Sunday with my dad, as my parents are divorced and shared custody. I was baptized Lutheran but grew up as an United Methodist, and my dad was and is still very active. I enjoyed Sunday school, both the lesson plans and the friendships gained, and I’m thankful for that foundation in my youth. As an adult, I’ve found that I don’t need religion in my life to feel complete.
To us, faith-based holidays aren’t exclusive to members of congregations. It’s a time to slow down and be thankful for what we have and appreciate the life for which we’ve worked hard. (We don’t say the life with which we’ve been “blessed.”) We choose not to attend church because it doesn’t fit our mentality. That doesn’t mean we trash talk religion or discourage others from attending.
We view the Bible as integral to our society, and I want our daughter to learn the cultural significances of God and Jesus. For example, I often wonder how many people know that the term “good Samaritan” is from the parable in the gospel of Luke. Stories and teachings from the Bible are tightly interwoven with our political and social world, and it will strengthen my daughter to understand religious references. I want her to know the roots of the greeting, “He is risen,” and why it matters.
Maybe we’re too lax about our views and our situation. I’m okay with that. I want my daughter to remember Easter with the same warm memories and goodwill my husband and I have about the holiday. With a basket full of eggs and a stomach full of honey-roasted ham and chocolate, I want her to sleep that night knowing she is loved by her family. Whatever she chooses to do with her future, religious or otherwise, we will accept and love her decision.