My Easter today is nothing like the one I used to celebrate as a child. My family did a very formal traditional Easter back then. We were a mixture of Protestants and Catholics but that never seemed to matter (although some of my family members couldn't come to my church). There was the shopping for the new Easter outfit - dress, shoes, gloves, hat, spring coat, etc. The hat was always a point of disagreement for Mom and me. I look terrible in hats and when you see pictures of me in them it is pretty obvious.
The relatives always shuffled between my Grandma J's or our house for the big meal. Time was set - dishes assigned (secretly always hoping Grandma B would bake a lemon meringue pie for me). For some reason I always remember the Easter at Grandma J's more. Pots of lilies decorated the room. Sitting around the dining room table with the traditional Polish Catholic butter lamb adorning the center. We came from Buffalo and it is a big thing there - even though we were not Polish :)
After we ate - it was ladies to the kitchen and guys to the living room. I would sneak upstairs and play in the upstairs front parlor. If I got lucky the door to the attic was unlocked and I would sneak up there and play all sorts of imaginative games. (until I got caught)
My young years were made up of traditions - the Easter eggs, the candy, the baskets, the clothes, the traditional meal, etc. What was missing was a personal relationship with the One who had risen. Take all the pagan traditional stuff out of the picture and we all missed the centerpiece of the table. The butter lamb represented the Lamb who had given His life for us and needed us to partake of Him. The scarlet ribbon around his neck was a symbol of the blood He shed for me. Right there in front of me - and I couldn't see it.
Today I don't have all the traditions around me. I miss them - just like I miss the family with whom I celebrated. (I don't miss the hats or gloves) What I have that I didn't have then is Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He isn't a tradition - He is life and life more abundant. I don't begrudge people their traditions - as long as Christ is above all else.