You might wonder why a Friend is writing on the topic of a holiday, why once again I’ve brought my bare wooden forsythia branches inside and put them in a cream colored pottery pitcher. I hang the same real hand painted eggs I have for about two decades now and this year have added some actual bird nests, which are a treasure to me. It is simple, it is quiet and before all the bustle interferes.
The "why" is because we are a family and we are diverse, but we are more the same than we are different. Each of us is more comfortable with stressing different elements of worship of this same God. And so yes, as a Friend I do celebrate Christ’s resurrection with my family and the renewal that brings each and every day in my heart. I breathe in and out because of this, so I am not offended by the day and hope to grasp hold of it every single holy day I live not just one day. Do I need bunnies, candy, church and eggs hunts–huge representations and symbols of this holiday event? No, not at all, but I need to love and honor those who do. To not do so, would not be Friendly in my mind at all to those around me.
As much as I try to subdue them, Christmas and Easter still get elevated more than I’d like here. Every year I make subtle changes to rid as much emphasis and commercialization as I can. I’m willing to let it slide for those who need it and do it up big style. As Friends, I do believe that no one day should be singled out as more holy than others. For me, it is not a case of not celebrating it, as it is more about remembering to celebrate it every day in between. Perhaps what sets me apart is HOW it is done. Christ did not establish special days, but did tell us to be aware of numbering our days and has shown us our earthly days are fleeting. So, I do not regard it as inherently sinful, but do yearn to do it vastly different than I did previously. Though as a family, everyone must make choices that best reflect their own set of values, even within a solely Quaker family. There is melding to take place, variations to consider, negotiations to be chewed upon.
My branches bloom brilliant yellow and my nests are a simple reminder of renewal and a promise of hope to come. We meld together; we lean into one another and I contemplate this in a wider context of diversity and variants amongst the branches of Friends. Not only on this subject but on many, many topics and how to bring renewal of openness, love and acceptance within them. I’m not sure how. It seems to be much more problematic than I first thought, but I pray it can begin in small ways within me.