Spring is in the air. New life, wonderful weather and beautiful scenery take over during this time. And with this refreshing season comes one of my favorite holidays — Easter. It’s a time to really reflect on the countless blessings God has given us. And it’s a time when family comes together for reminiscing, laughter and loads of fun.

In my church, we prepare for Easter with Lent, a quiet, somewhat solemn period. Lent takes place during the 40 weekdays before Easter. Lighting in the church is dimmed and quieter songs are played during this time of reflection.

Come Easter morning, the church is brightly lit, with beautiful flowers throughout. Cheerful praise songs are sung. The aura truly conveys the reason for Easter — the resurrection of Jesus Christ: He died on the cross, was placed in a tomb and rose on the third day. Just as spring brings new life, according to my faith those who believe in Jesus receive eternal life once their life on Earth is over.

While I’ve attended a variety of Easter Masses at my church, I plan to get up early this year and begin celebrating this holy holiday just after 7 in the morning.

Easter is a day of joy for my family. Like many, we enjoy the tradition of hunting for colorful eggs. With a now almost 2½-year-old son, my husband and I get to relive our childhood egg-hunting days.

Zachary participated in the search for eggs for the first time last year when we attended my mom-and-tots group’s “Sp-egg-tacular” hunt at a park. Eggs were strewn all over a grassy field, and kids ran to grab 10 apiece. My little man caught on fairly quickly, slowly stooping down to pick up and then gently placing the eggs in a basket. He wasn’t concerned with rushing around to be the first to grab the eggs; he skillfully selected them.

That year we also had an egg hunt in my parents’ spacious backyard. Zachary, along with several of his cousins, traipsed around the yard, searching high and low for the colorful plastic goods. He was a bit more enthusiastic after noticing how his cousins scurried around to collect eggs.

With Easter near, we’ve already had “practice” hunts. My sister Amy and I attempted to hide the plastic eggs for her two young boys and Zachary. Eyes peeked here and there, and they started early at times, but they had great fun. We played several times, and the kids hid the treasures for us, too.

Buying trinkets to make up a colorful basket is also exciting. While I don’t get carried away with toys on Easter, this year I did get an early start discovering some fun items that will be both useful and appreciated by Zachary. I picked up a couple of books at a local store, and I also shopped online for some knickknacks. I am excited to artfully stuff them into a basket covered with faux grass.

Many memories come to mind from when I was a little girl searching for baskets with my sister. My mom cleverly wound string around the house, so we followed a maze of pretend spider webs to find what awaited us on the other end.

Another funny childhood memory involves discovering decorated baskets before I was supposed to notice them. I walked into the guest bathroom and was confused to see the shower curtain closed. Since that wasn’t the norm in our house, I pulled aside the curtain. To my surprise, two baskets full of toys and candy were inside the shower. It definitely made me rethink how those baskets actually got into the house.

Easter also brings a family gathering at my parent’s house. We will have fun as we watch the kids take part in an egg hunt, eat a delicious meal and enjoy one another’s company while reflecting on Christ’s resurrection on this joyful and amazing holiday.

Sarah Mckeown works at a charter school and lives on the east side with her husband and son. Email her at east@azstarnet.com