Every family last year had to dig down deep and get creative with their observance of Easter and Ramadhan (Ramadan) last year. For us, it opened up some very interesting and fun ideas; that helped all of us cope better with not being able to celebrate as we normally were able to. This Easter our family had no problem making it memorable. We finally had a bit of sunny weather and took advantage of it.
Jenkins Family Easter
I have to say, without the help of my wife; none of this would have been possible. This is why I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t give her props on being a wonderful wife and mother! She was able to put together some beautiful designs and themes for Easter and Ramadhan/Eid.
Celebrating holidays can be a challenge for many interfaith families. I think it boils down to getting wrapped up in theological differences, or a lack of communication builds up and fester until I can no longer be contained. It’s one of the main reasons Sophia and I have always been open and discuss our faith and how it will shape our family. We generally look to beliefs we share and strengthen our understanding of those.
A major one is that Easter is a time to be with family and celebrate that blessing. The weather allowed the kids to wear themselves out in some fresh air and play with their cousins.
Easter for our family has always a moment for our family to enjoy our larger family and connect, but it’s also a moment to celebrate the life of Jesus, and what his teachings mean to us as a family. Sophia and her mom did an awesome job finding these great books we were able to read to the kids that helped bring the drama of Easter in a way Jordyn and Josiah could understand and respond to.
And just like Easter, Ramadan presented more opportunities to connect as a family and create traditions that are full of loving meaning. I personally wanted this Ramadan to be more about my family’s connection with God rather than my own. Just as we had done with Easter, Ramadan we wanted to express the family element of it all.
We wanted to flesh out the other equally important aspects of Ramadan, the reflection on God in our lives and the world around us. The concern for the welfare of others and the giving we did over the Easter weekend carries over into the month of Ramadan.
Connecting with the Qur’an as a Family.
Normally in our home, we have listening times for the Qur’an similar to listening times for Gospel music and prayer times. So to give it a little more than what’s in our normal routine, I decided to bring some of the lessons of the Qur’an to life as we hear it recited. Taking into account we are an interfaith family, I also didn’t want to make the mistake of having one religious tradition overshadow the other. It’s a core teaching of Islam that it as a faith never existed in a vacuum and acknowledges the previous faith communities that came before Islam existed.
“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians — whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.” (The Holy Quran 2:62 )
“…and nearest among them in love to the (Muslim) believers are those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ because among them are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant” (The Holy Quran 5:82)
Sophia and the kids did an awesome job with the decorating and crafts to help bring the atmosphere of Ramadan into the house!
Where would Ramadan be without the Qur’an? Its ability to impart so much of its beauty, and the lessons that it helps to complete and complement the spiritual lessons of the Bible. We also had the opportunity to read these books on Ramadhan with the kids.
Mother’s Day and Eid ul Fitr
Ramadhan and Mother’s Day also gave us the opportunity to spend more quality time as a family. Highlighting a very important theme of the Qur’an surrounding mothers and the role of motherhood. Where would any of us truly be without the love, compassion, and selfless service our mothers blessed us with. Our Mother’s day celebration started with a visit to the zoo as a family
There are many wonderful things about Eid we were able to share with our children. From the history of it down to some of the foods and lessons of living a life of peace. As a family, Eid; much like Easter brings the lessons of how a family with two different religious traditions can live and celebrate together with little conflict.