Sunflower Seeds logo

Sunflower Seeds


Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

How Do You Celebrate Easter?

If I asked you, “How do you celebrate Christmas?” you would probably give me many examples: stringing lights, trimming the tree, decorating the house, baking certain cookies, cooking special meals, buying and receiving presents, parties of all kinds, family gatherings, Midnight Mass, etc.

But when I ask, “How do you celebrate Easter?” what would you say? Easter baskets, jelly beans, singing alleluia at the Easter Mass? The truth is we Christians are good at celebrating Jesus’ birth, but we’re not so good at celebrating Jesus’ rising. One reason is this: we all know what it means to be born. But we don’t know what it means to be risen from the dead.

Yet the Resurrection is the central truth of our Christian faith. How might we celebrate Easter in a way befitting such a glorious feast? I’ll suggest three ways—all based on key elements of the Easter story.

Peace. The first words Jesus speaks to his frightened disciples after the resurrection are these: “Peace be with you.” As we look around our world today, we see how desperately we need peace—in our world, our country, our neighborhoods, our families, and in ourselves. One way to celebrate Easter is to try to be a person of peace. We can do this in small ways. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton said that when he began to embrace a life of non-violence, he started by shutting doors more softly.

Similarly, we can become a person of peace by slowing down, by reducing our complaining, by refusing to repeat gossip, by speaking respectfully to everyone we encounter, by listening to others, by complimenting someone, and by counting our blessings.

Freedom. A second way to celebrate Easter is by exercising the gift of freedom that Jesus bestowed upon us through his resurrection. We can begin by asking: What is preventing me from being as free as Jesus?

Immediately we might think of addictions that prevent individuals from being free—the addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, and even to the internet or cellphone. But there are other things besides these types of addiction that can hinder our freedom: a lack of self-esteem, fear of what others think of us, hypersensitivity. We can also become “addicted” to our prejudices or our way of doing things (it’s my way or no way!). We may also be addicted to our need to be in control.

There is only one way to grow in the freedom to love as Jesus loves: by realizing we have nothing to lose, for we already possess the one thing necessary: God’s unconditional love for us!

Joy. The great British Cardinal, John Henry Newman said, “The chief grace of early Christianity was joy.” We can never forget how many of those early martyrs went to their deaths singing! Talk about joy!

Does joy still mark us as Christians? The cause of our joy is simple: Jesus’ resurrection shows us that goodness triumphs over evil, that love is stronger than hatred, and that life wins out over death. If we really believe this, how could we be anything but joyful?

Perhaps this Easter season we can make a conscious effort to be more joyful. We could smile more, laugh more, hum more, dance more, have fun more, and try to look for the good in life. As the Jesuit writer John Powell said, “If you are happy, let your face know it!”

We could share joy with others by telling a joke, playing a game with someone, sharing a cartoon, watching a funny movie, treating someone to lunch. One theologian wisely said, “The opposite of joy is not sorrow. It is unbelief.”

So, this Easter, let us celebrate this great feast by becoming men and women of peace, by growing in the freedom of Jesus, and by living the joy that is the chief grace of our Christian faith.

Happy Easter!

I chose an ancient hymn for our song today, one you are probably familiar with. It’s entitled “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” and it was written in the 14th Century in Bohemia (where my ancestors come from!) It was originally written in Latin by an unknown composer. In the 18th Century it was translated into English.


What are some of the ways you celebrate Easter?

20 Responses

  1. Sr. Melannie,

    On this day after Easter, thanks for the reminders on the ways to continue the celebration in our lives.

    The idea of not gossiping has really hit home with me lately. Thanks for mentioning that one. The Holy Spirit has been reminding me of that one lately.

    God bless!


  2. Thanks so much for marvelous seeds for today! How about addictions
    to carbohydrates, over-eating?
    Pray fo our Congregation for Elections this week, please. May Peace,
    Freedom, Joy be our Hallmarks!

  3. Dear Sister!
    Peace, freedom and joy! So much joy in our “month of Sundays!” we call the Easter Season! Can’t help but be joyful as we go through our days knowing God’s love surrounds all of us and triumphs in all things, even in the struggles and challenges. Happy Easter to you Sister! And peace be with you! Loretta

  4. I’ll never forget one of our nuns telling us that Easter is the most important celebration in the Church. I sure thought it was Christmas with all its traditions and hype.

    Thank you for reminding us!!

    I plan to be more peaceful.

  5. Dear Sister M,
    I love the common sense suggestions of change to initiate more peace, freedom and joy into my everyday. Recently I’ve taken to putting on my favorite CD, Graceland by Paul Simon and I dance around the house while I do chores. It has made the biggest difference in my attitude!
    I can’t wait to try some of your suggestions and see the results. I”m 65 and refuse to stay fixed in habits that are not the best I can do, I know with God’s help, I can always do better.

  6. This year I was so busy with all kinds of “works” that made me feel rushed & pressured but on Easter I basked in the glow of a glorious sunrise & reflected on all Jesus suffered & went through for 33 years. I was humbled by his sacrifices & realized once again how much I need the Trinity in my daily life. Praise Jesus for redeeming my soul when my time comes. I will be more aware of what I need to do in order to be worthy of walking through the gates of paradise & walking with my Savior in the garden.

  7. Thank you for a great reminder of Easter…to speak and share Joy in all I am and do. You are such a great example of this living Joy. Happy Easter! Melannie!

  8. I think this is one of the best essays you have written, Sister Melannie. You give us so much food for thought in the days to come and real steps to embrace small yet powerful ways to live the Good News. Many thanks! Alleluia!

  9. Thank you so much for this! Even my cat, Mia, my early morning prayer companion, perked up and began purring loudly when she heard the song. All of creation sings!

  10. Happy Easter, Melannie!

    Love that tidbit about how Merton started to close the door more gently when he started to embrace non-violence.

  11. Dear Sr. Melanie:

    What beautiful words flow from your mouth. I am never so at peace as when I am in church at Easter Vigil and the entire church is in darkness for about 45 minutes. As we light the candles all over the church, light comes forth and shines so brightly and beautifully. Jesus has come! Allelujah! Easter is the most important holiday in our church and the joy it brings goes without saying. Bless you and all the sisters at this most holy time of year.

  12. Being a Liturgical Musician for most of my 78 years, Easter is a very busy time of year. Even though I enjoy the high of Easter Mass, I reach Easter Monday with a sigh of relief. Thanks for reminding me of some of the very simple ways of slowing down & becoming a person of peace. What a wonderful world it would be if everyone practiced a few of these things.
    Thank you Sr. Melanie for your timely reminders. Have a Blessed Easter Season and a joy filled day!

  13. Dear Sr. Melannie,

    Thank you for the wonderful and wise reminder to reflect in peace and joy on Easter and in these stressful times when it is easy to forget to be grateful for all of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. This Easter has been a difficult one for me, as my Mom recently passed and we always celebrated many special Easters together. It made me miss her even more and I have been feeling sad. Thank you for your shared loving reminders. They uplift me and help assure me that Mom is an angel held in God’s gentle hands and that she is with me always and watching over me by His side. Peace be with you, Sr. Melannie.

  14. I know that hymn, Jesus Christ is Risen Today, but with different verses. I’m going to assume that the version I know was the result of the Latin to English translation in the 18th century? We learn something new every week. Peace, Freedom, and Joy to all.

  15. Peace, Freedom, Joy! Wonderful words to live by each day of our lives. Thank you, Sister. Easter Blessings……
    Ed J.

  16. Hope you are having a glorious Easter, Melannie. Loved your inspiring blog, as always.
    One of my favorite quotes is ” Joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence”. I think it was Cardinal Newman who said it.
    Happy Easter, happy spring( if it ever arrives!). Love, Josita

  17. Dear Sr Melanie

    Thanks you for gently reminding us how we can truly live the Easter message … by becoming men and women of peace, by growing in the freedom of Jesus, and by living the joy that is the chief grace of our Christian faith. The little metaphor about even closing the door gently from Thomas Merton was so meaningful.

    Easter wishes to you and all who share this site.

    Perth, West Australia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Posts

(Please note: Today’s reflection deals with a very disurbing topic: war. Some of you may find this reflection very difficult to read. I understand. I found it very difficult to write.) Memorial Day will be celebrated next Monday in the U.S. This is the day set aside to remember and

Today I’m sharing with you a famous prayer/poem/ written by St. John Henry Newman. But first, a few words about this saint canonized by Pope Francis in October 2019. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was born in London, England, the eldest of six children. His father was a banker. As a

Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Upcoming Events

Finding God in the Ordinary and Amazing: An Afternoon with Sister Melannie

Sunday, May 19, 2024 – 1:30 – 4:00 Central – via zoom

Sponsored by the Portiuncula Center for Prayer – Frankfort, Illinois

Fee: Donation

For details visit: [email protected]

Weekend retreat at Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center, Pulaski, PA
October 11-13, 2024

October 11-13, 2024

Details to follow

Retreat with the Sisters of Loretto, Nerinx, KY
September 8-13, 2024

September 8-13, 2024

Details to follow

Retreat at Lial Renewal Center, Whitehouse, OH
August 11-18, 2024

August 11-18, 2024

Retreat at Heartland Center for Spirituality, Great Bend, KS
April 14-19, 2024

April 14-19, 2024

Details to follow