Once upon a time, each of our young children crafted ornate artworks proclaiming one glorious word: “Alleluia.” They beamed as they presented us with their crayon- and marker-infused creations. Some of the pieces dripped with healthy helpings of glitter paste and others were adorned with leftover Valentine’s Day stickers.

Upon completion, we asked the kids to find a good hiding place for their masterworks, as they’d be tucked away for the entirety of the Lenten season. But why would we do such a thing? Surely these precious pieces should, at the very least, be hung in places of prominence on the refrigerator.

As Catholics living out the rhythms of the liturgical calendar, we corporately bury our alleluias for the weeks of Lent so that we may cry out our praise all the more at the Easter Vigil: “Christ is risen – ALLELUIA!”

We don’t fast from alleluia because God needs a break from “the ‘a’ word” (as our kids called it) during Lent; rather, it’s because we human beings are creatures of habit who often unintentionally fall into ruts, perhaps taking for granted just how worthy of our thanksgiving and praise Almighty God truly is. Or maybe that’s just me.

Remember meatless Fridays? I’m telling you — bacon never looked so good as on the one day of the week I couldn’t eat it. Abstaining from anything, whether it’s certain foods, social media, gossip, you name it — can make it challenging to forget the very thing we’re striving to avoid. Maybe a lesson from Lent is realizing that we should praise God more frequently (or with more fervor) than we did before.

St. Augustine of Hippo is often credited with saying, “We are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song!” Whether he actually said it, the sentiment holds true: As Catholic Christians, we profess this belief every time we pray the creed: “I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” We’re affirming our belief that Jesus rose from the dead, and that we have hope of heaven someday.

It isn’t enough to proclaim “alleluia” with our mouths, though, is it? We must also proclaim it in deed. Yet how can we practically live out our identity as an Easter people when things aren’t as delightful as a basketful of fluffy baby chicks, as beautiful as lavishly decorated eggs, and as decadent as an endless supply of chocolate bunnies? What if we just don’t feel like praising God? What then?

The secret, I believe, is holding fast to reality – to the Gospel truth we know. Please note that I didn’t say the truth we feel. Our feelings can and do toss us about like an unmoored boat, yet the Good News of Jesus Christ is unchanging: God is real. He loves us more than we can possibly comprehend. He proved that love by sending his only son to die even while we were still sinners. Jesus Christ rose from the grave, smashing death with the ultimate TKO on Easter Sunday.

We don’t offer up our alleluia to the Lord only when our lives are filled with sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows – we praise God at all times and in all circumstances simply because of who he is and because we belong to him.

Now, how might we live our lives as an Easter people? I suppose it could look like, for example, being grateful rather than grumbling about that highly inconvenient flat tire because we surmise our Guardian Angel was helping us avoid a worse wreck down the road. Or maybe being an Easter person looks like loosening my grip on a tenuous economic situation because I choose to believe that God will provide all that my family needs. Whatever the case, I think Easter people live by Romans 8:28. I’ll let you look that one up and see if you agree.

Now, it could be you’re still waiting for resurrection in your life, and singing “alleluia” is the very last thing on your mind. Maybe you’re sitting in the agonizing isolation of the Garden of Gethsemani, wondering when this trial will pass. Or perhaps you’ve seen the empty tomb, but you have no idea where the Lord has gone, and you wonder if he’ll ever return to save you.

I promise you, friend — at some point, the horror of Good Friday shall pass, and the glories of Easter Sunday will completely transcend and transform the darkness. Your wounds, then bloodied and mournful, will shine with the healing restoration of our Savior’s merciful love. You will, one day, be able to proclaim with great fervor: “I have seen the LORD! Alleluia!”

Until then, let us find ways to be an Easter people — people of faith, love, and healthy helpings of glitter paste. Let us sing our hope-filled “alleluia” to a broken and beautiful world in need of a savior.

Renshaw is a wife and mother who lives in the wilds of suburban Portland. Her first book, “Death by Minivan,” is out now from Our Sunday Visitor.