April Ideas for the Domestic Church

Ideas for the Post-Easter Season
For those of us who are trying to make the Christian Church Year more a part of our “regular family life”, the fifty days of the Easter Season offers a perfect opportunity! There are no great big Christian festivals during that time: Easter Sunday has already been celebrated and Pentecost is yet-to-come. (Tra la, sis boom bah, Lent is over, Rah! Rah! Rah!) For this glorious 7-week period, we are celebrating the Easter joy of Christ’s Resurrection – without having to do any holiday housecleaning or cooking or entertaining. What a great season! And there are all sorts of things we can do with friends or our children to celebrate the joy that shines in our hearts because Jesus lives!

The origins of April Fool’s Day are obscure: it is variously attributed to the fruitless mission of the raven from Noah’s Ark, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, agricultural festivals, and the uncertainty of the weather. It has often been confused with the medieval Feast of Fools, a mock religious holiday (which the Church hierarchy frowned upon) in which lower clergy and lay people were “elected” by their congregations to serve as a bishop or archbishop for the day. The purpose of this fun was to unmask the prepensions of the power elite in order to make their power less fearsome. The festivities often went beyond simple charade and became occasions for all sorts of sacrilegious and bawdy carryings on. The Feast of Fools was suppressed by both Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches during the Reformation, (largely because of the debauchery involved) while April Fool’s Day was widely practiced without censure by the Church.

These “Foolish” celebrations pointed out two very important things, however. First, life was never intended to be humorless – play is a necessary part of full humanity. Second, the value of a human being is not determined by his or her station in life or financial circumstances.

April Fool’s Day in Christian Families can be a day to upend the ordinary routines – and to switch roles with someone else. Children and parents (or grandparents) might switch. Or families could decide to do something you don’t ordinarily do but that you think might be fun. For example, if your daily routine doesn’t usually have a place for dancing, or singing, or painting, or playing the kazoo, or anything you’d really like to do, then declare April Fool’s Day the day for doing that.

The point is simply to do something fun for the sheer fun of doing it. After all, you serve a God who turned the tables on Death – and had the last laugh.

Watch the faithfulness of God by bringing some Spring inside your home:

  • Pick limbs of pussy willows and bring them inside. Put them in water and watch spring pop out! (If they begin to grow roots, plant them outdoors.)
  • Pick forsythia at the first sign of budding and bring it inside.
  • Plant tulip, daffodil or hyacinth bulbs inside. Keep them watered and in a sunny window.
  • Fill the house with construction paper daisies. Tape them to windows, doors, refrigerator, or hang them with black thread from ceiling lights, etc.
  •  Welcome the birds with suet and seeds.
  • Cut the tops off milk cartons. Fill the cartons with soil and plant dwarf marigold seeds. They come up and grow quickly, and they may even be ready to bloom by the time its warm enough to plant them outside.

Instead of TV Remember all those great family-things you were going to do together all winter? And that you never did because everybody was so busy? Well, this month, why not pick one night a week and, instead of watching TV, try doing one of the following together as a family:

  •  Model objects out of clay.
  • Make collages of seeds, grains, cereal and paper scraps.
  • Take a walk (or go to the park) before dark.
  • Play badminton.
  • Sing old songs.
  • Have an everybody-do-something no-talent show.
  • Have a puppet show.
  • Have a read-aloud (each person gets to read or have his/her favorite poem or story read).
  • Light candles and play old records.
  • Have devotions on the porch or in the backyard.
  • Roast marshmallows over the hibachi. (outside)
  • Make popcorn balls.
  • Redecorate the kitchen bulletin board.
  • Play caroms, pick-up-sticks, tiddlywinks, jacks. (Dad, too!)
  • String popcorn, Cheerios and Lifesavers.

Why not use a bulletin board or chalkboard to record spring firsts?

  • Print or letter the title “Spring Firsts” at the top of the board
  • As a family, discuss the ways that the coming of spring helps us to remember that God keeps his promises.
  • Then decide on the things everyone should look for and list them under the title on the board. (A robin; a pinkish bloom on a tree; a crocus, daffodil or tulip; kids in shorts; the first lawnmower disturbing the neighborhood — be creative.)
  •  Each night discuss what “firsts” have been spotted.

Take some time together before the end-of-school-year crush that begins in May. Invite your friends over. Whether or not you have children in your home, this blessed April is a wonderful time to savor the joy that comes with Spring — a joy that is increased immeasurably for Christians, whom God calls His children. Have a wonderful April!

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