In high school French class I was taught that Easter is a plural noun in French (les Pâques) to help distinguish it from Passover (la paques)--the Jewish commemoration of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. My French class was the first place I heard about the connection between Passover and Easter. Now, as an adult, I understand more clearly that the Last Supper was when Christ was partaking of the Passover feast with his disciples.
I bring this up because today is Maundy Thursday, when some Catholics and Christians commemorate the Last Supper. Most of us Americans, however, only commemorate Easter on Easter day, and we do so for the children with egg hunts and baskets of goodies. But Easter is arguably a more pivotal and important holiday than Christmas--and yet I've never done much to prepare my heart in anticipation of it.
So rather than simply celebrating Easter day, I'm planning a simple dinner with some Passover foods Friday night, and we'll talk to our children about both Passover and Jesus' last supper with his disciples. It's a simple act, but it's a new family tradition to remind me that Easter is more than a day for putting on our Sunday best, thanking God, and going to Grandma's for lunch. I also plan to read more about Lent--even now that Easter's nearly here--because I'd like to tune my heart to Christ in that way next year.
How do you prepare your heart for Easter? Do you have family traditions during holy week? Joyeuses Pâques!