Easter in Heaven

I came across this photo last weekend as I was scanning  pictures from my mother’s album. It was Easter, 1981, and our extended family had congregated at my parents’ home for a traditional Greek Easter dinner.

Easter 1981

l-r: Uncle Nick Pouletsos, Uncle Peter Connell, Aunt Pauline Connell, Aunt Frieda Stakis

This photo has unleashed a plethora of memories for me — a lifetime of family gatherings and activities. While my Easter table will be bereft of these and other elders, my grandparents’ will now be complete; brothers and sisters reunited; cousins together. A loving family on earth now together in heaven.

It is tempting to speculate on how my parents and relatives will celebrate Easter in heaven. One thing I believe is that they will:  “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Romans 6:8)

As I prepare for this most holy of holidays, I cling to familial and cultural patterns as my anchor of tradition, and to the Savior as my anchor of faith.

Our traditional Easter dinner of roast lamb symbolizes the Lamb of God, our Redeemer.

  • Our recitation of “Christos Anesti,” (Christ has Risen) attests to the reality of the resurrection.
  • Bright red eggs “kokkina avga” on the table symbolize the blood of Christ that was shed for each of us.
  • The breaking of eggs symbolizes Christ breaking the bands of death and coming forth from the tomb. Each person takes a red egg and cracks the ends with another person. This proceeds around the table until one individual is left with an unbroken egg, and he/she can expect to have good luck throughout the year.
  • Partaking of the “tsoureki,” or Easter bread, reminds us that Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. (John 6:48: “I am that bread of life.”)

On Easter Sunday, my husband and I will travel to our son’s home to celebrate with his family. On Greek Easter, which falls the following weekend, we will travel to my cousin’s home to celebrate again — this time, with our extended family. As my parents and their siblings traveled to be together on holidays, now it is my turn to visit my cousins and continue the good traditions which have united our family for generations.

As I read the words of the Apostle Paul this Easter season, I truly believe my family in heaven will unite with me in rejoicing: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten to us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3).

Christos Anesti to you and your family!

(this article was published in Meridian Magazine, March 16, 2012; a link can also be found here on my blog)

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One thought on “Easter in Heaven

  1. Hariklia, what a find, your work- we are from Sparti- Vamvakou, Vassaras, Megali Vrysi, in the Parnon, Kladas in the lowlands- our wedding reception was at Katsihtis in Agiannis- Keep up the work- mI was there 2009-2010- am doing research there- any thing on Lakonia,the director of the Library in Sparta would like to collect, especially for the Spartan Diaspora room-emaqil me when you have a chance

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