This is a courtesy reminder: it’s still Easter.
The last of the Peeps bunnies may have left the clearance shelves, and the Easter lilies might be withering, but the Easter season is far from over. We make Lenten sacrifices for forty days; why would we be content to celebrate Easter for just one? In her wisdom, the Church instead sets aside fifty glorious days for the Easter season, to help us experience the Easter mystery for what it is—the feast of all feasts.
If Lent is, in part, about giving things up to grow in desire, Easter is about the fulfillment of desire. It celebrates our redemption—our ability through Jesus to get back to God—and the joy that this produces. It is this joy that inspires the Easter feasting.
“Where love rejoices,” St. John Chrysostom observed, “there is festivity.”
There is no greater feast than Easter. That is because there is no greater love than the saving sacrifice of Christ.
So, let’s celebrate. And keep celebrating. Lent creates the thirst. Easter Sunday is like chugging a glassful of Paschal joy. But the rest of the season remains to sip and enjoy further. Now, it isn’t as if you have to recreate a magnificent Easter Sunday dinner again and again and again (though, by all means, go for it if you want). There are other, smaller ways to Easterize your days. Here are just a few possibilities:
- Strew your daily prayers with Alleluias
Whenever and whatever you ordinarily pray, punctuate those prayers with an Alleluia at the end. Add a dash of Alleluia to your prayer before meals. Insert it after every Hail Mary of a rosary. (Fifty Alleluias… fifty days of Easter. It would be only fitting.)
This habit supplies an easy and consistent way to remember that Easter is still ours to enjoy. It offers a pledge of future glory as well. Alleluia is found in the victory hymn sung by the heavenly choirs in the Book of Revelation. “The Alleluia,” Pope Benedict reflects, “is like an initial revelation of what can and shall someday take place in us: our entire being shall turn into one immense joy” (Dogma and Preaching, 300).
- Easterize some small delights
In German culture, there is something called feierabendbier. Literally it means the “evening celebration beer,” or the after-work beer. It’s not merely any old beer that you just so happen to drink after work. Rather, it’s its own distinct thing. In the German mindset, it would never cross your mind to have a feierabendbier on your day off from work; that would be absurd. The occasion shapes the very identity of the consumable good to be enjoyed.
Replace “after-work” with “Easter,” and you’ve got the idea: do something concrete and intentional to mark these days as Easter days. It need not involve eating, but that isn’t a bad place to start. On the Friday of the Easter Octave, for example, I Easterized my lunch. As a rejoinder to all those Lenten (and non-Lenten!) Fridays of abstinence from meat, I had myself a double bacon cheeseburger. Saint Paul tells the Corinthians, “Brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). With every bite I prayed silently, Glory to you, O Lord. Bringing the Redeemer to mind made the meal better than it could have been on its own.
- Invite others
“The trick is not to arrange a festival,” the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche notes, “but to find people who can enjoy it.” For Christians, feasting is a way of seeking the presence of God through the presence and proximity of others. The two are closely aligned—our connection to God and to others. Drawing close to others brings us closer to God. Look to the Scriptural accounts of Easter and how the joy of the Resurrection comes to us through the word of witnesses. Think of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, when she beholds the Lord, newly resurrected. What does she do? Overjoyed, she goes and tells the apostles. It is the same with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They book it back home to share their joy with the others. Joy simply demands to be shared.
Wine labels will include directives like “pair with fish.” On bottles of Spencer Trappist Ale, right beneath the brewery name, the label reads: pair with family and friends. Something good demands to be shared with others who can enjoy it.
Inviting others to join you in sipping those daily Alleluias will only enhance them. And there are many, many more just waiting to be relished.
Photo by Carly Jayne