During Lent, the phrase retrieve lament captures me through the words of Rilke. During the Great Fifty Days of Easter, it's the lovable contrarian Wendell Berry exhorting my imagination with two words (plus many more): Practice Resurrection.
I also remember each year the passage I've fallen in love with from N.T. Wright:
"... we should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children's games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind. this is our greatest festival....This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out.
...if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again -- well, of course....The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do it only for six weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life..."
After attending Good Friday service together this year, my daughters and I talked honestly about how sometimes Easter feels like a let-down. It seems to be easier to understand fasting better that feasting. We thought that might be, in part, because our world is generally obsessed with feasting, and whatever we try to do to mark Eastertide feels like the stuff we're normally trying to do every day anyway.
I wonder, too, if sometimes feasting shows more plainly how far away from God we still live. When I can be satisfied in just the right amount of wine or chocolate, that is feasting. When I can't stop either one, that turns into gluttony - which is no longer true feasting. In some ways, fasting is easier, see?
Put another way: feasting is a discipline, too. We take in the good with gratitude and contentment without making an idol of the gifts. This requires us to depend on the Creator as much (maybe more so) as any other spiritual exercise.