Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Luke 19:38
As Easter approaches, we are coming to a most holy time of year. If Christmas is the bow and wrappings of our faith then Easter is what’s inside the package.
Somehow though, Easter doesn’t get the same billing as Christmas. Yes, Easter has its own super character, its own candy line and retailers depend upon it for a boost to their monthly sales total. But the celebration of Christmas has become its own season, demanding our attention from Black Friday to New Years Day. And if bottom lines are really the bottom line, Christmas wins as far as the number one holiday celebrated here in the western world.
That’s why we as parents must be deliberate in giving this holy holiday special significance in our own hearts and in our homes. For me, it’s a time of contemplation and humility as I’m reminded of the incredible sacrifice the Heavenly Father was willing to make on my behalf. Reading the scriptures, singing worship songs, and taking communion have renewed significance as I remember the life that was given to pay for my sins. There is a humble gratefulness and sweet intimacy that is revived this time of year.
As we were raising our children, Tim and I wanted our kids to realize the significance of Easter and as much as possible, according to their age, we wanted them to understand the true Easter story. So in addition to bonnets, baskets and new clothes, our family did some things throughout the years to help us celebrate the significance of this resurrection Sunday.
When our kids were growing up, we collected age appropriate books that told the Easter story in traditional as well as innovative ways. As we approached Easter, I took these books off the shelf and put them in a handy basket to read to them. Some of the books were interactive and one even had an Easter play that we acted out as a family.
In the weeks leading up to Easter, our church faithfully supplied stories, crafts, activities and wonderful music for our kids. One of our favorite crafts that we used year after year was an egg carton full of plastic eggs. Each egg was filled with an object that told part of the Easter story. Palm leaves, fur for the donkey, bitter herbs for the Passover, thorns, nails, cloth for Christ’s robe, toothpicks made into a cross… etc. to make eleven eggs. The most important egg though was the twelfth egg – the empty one signifying the empty tomb.
We would use these twelve eggs like the advent calendar and end up opening the empty egg on Easter morning. Our children loved to take turns selecting an egg and telling the significance of its content. It helped to make it real to them. At that time, we made our own resurrection eggs (and you can also make your own by following this tutorial), but if you aren’t that crafty or just want an easier way to do the same thing, Family Life now has these very cool and well made Resurrection Eggs Our children use them now with their kids and our grandchildren love them.
By far, the annual activity that had the most lasting impression on each of us was watching the Jesus Movie the night before Easter. If you don’t own a copy of this excellent portrayal of Christ’s life, I highly recommend that you buy one. We watched it year after year and it really brought Christ’s sacrifice and his victory over death into our hearts and minds in a lasting way. After watching the movie, one of us led the family in a sweet time of communion. It was a special evening for our family and a creative way to make sure that none of us bit into our chocolate bunnies on Easter morning without realizing what we were really celebrating.
The greatest and most sobering responsibility that we as parents have is to point our children to the cross. Easter provides many ripe opportunities. Carpe Cadbury! (Seize the eggs)
Here’s to Remembering the Resurrection and Rejoicing in Easter,