Our faith is incarnational. The endearing customs of our culture are the face of our faith. When we stop living them, we have stopped believing.When my children were small, I worked hard to make sure they ate natural, nourishing foods. I didn’t buy neon-colored marshmallow-laced cereals for them to eat, except twice a year. At Christmas and at Pascha, I bought jumbo-sized boxes of Lucky Charms. They learned the sweetness of the feasts from the sweetness of the cereal. And when the feast was over, they went back to eating their ordinary foods.
When they asked for Lucky Charms and similar cereals the rest of the year, I always said, “We’ll get that for you at Pascha and Christmas.” And they were satisfied with that. They understood that we have to have special foods for special times.
Until this year, I always made cheese and sausage balls for Pascha. I’d make an enormous batch. Some of them would go in my basket to share at the feast after the midnight service. Some would be frozen before they were baked. All during Pascha, when we wanted a snack, we’d take a few of them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven. Within a few minutes, the house smelled like Pascha baking, and we’d have a treat that tasted like Pascha.
We may tell ourselves that we are still believers, but what difference does it make then? We'd be "secular Christians."
We give our children a great gift when we establish and pass down family customs.