Easter is a wonderful opportunity to teach children and grandchildren about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As you plan for your celebration, here are some practical ways that you can emphasize the meaning of this special season:
1. Read Bible stories – Read the Easter story with your children/grandchildren in a story Bible. You can begin by reading about the Triumphal Entry (see #2); you could also include the story of the Passover from Exodus 7-12. Encourage questions.
2. Recreate the triumphal entry – Cut Palm branches out of green construction paper and attach them to Popsicle sticks. Give one to each child and help them to experience what the people in Jerusalem must have felt like on that day by shouting their own “Hosanna!” and singing songs of celebration.
3. Take the family to a passion play – Many churches and Christian theater groups put on productions and musicals. These colorful pageants help meet the “visual” needs of today’s kids, and can leave them wide-eyed with wonder.
4. Watch a video together – Find a story that you know your children will find interesting and understand – perhaps The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (from the book by C. S. Lewis), The Ten Commandments, The Robe or the JESUS film.
5. Decorate the house – Get the kids involved with more than just Easter eggs. Help them to create decorations for the house using symbols of the season. Create an Easter tree, decorated with lights, purple ribbons, the cross, palm or thorn branches, and eggs or branches with new buds (symbolizing new life in Christ). Create a crown of thorns from hawthorn branches and hang it with a verse (such as Isaiah 53:5) where your kids can see it.
6. Discuss the symbols of Easter and what they mean – Help your children/grandchildren to make sense of Easter by talking about the symbols and legends of the season. Use a tool that your kids will relate to, such as Resurrection Eggs (available at most Christian bookstores). Eleven of the twelve colorful, plastic eggs in this carton contain an Easter symbol and an explanation of what it means (such as a nail, a thorn, wood). The twelfth egg is empty, for the empty tomb. A guide for using the eggs is included.
Another good tool is the Good News Glove. Use this colorful glove, also available at many Christian bookstores, to communicate the heart of the gospel in an easy manner. It can be used alone or with the “Good News Comic Book.”
7. Share the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection with others – During holidays such as Christmas and Easter, there is a heightened awareness of and interest in spiritual things. It is a wonderful opportunity to introduce someone in your life (or your child’s/grandchild’s life) to Jesus, and to get your kids excited about sharing their faith. Invite your friends or your child’s/grandchild’s friends to join you at the Easter musical. Invite neighborhood children to an Easter “egg” hunt, and share the reason for Easter (through a children’s gospel tract or by using the Resurrection Eggs) along with the treats. Make favorite Easter goodies with your children and prepare Easter baskets for neighbors or friends (you can give them anonymously, or not), enclosed with a note reading “___ days until Easter!”
8. Attend a sunrise service – Choose to attend one locally or prepare your own service. Wear warm clothes, bring a blanket, and as the sun comes peeking over the horizon, sing or play taped music. Read appropriate scripture. Consider eating a simple, carry-along breakfast at this special spot.
9. Share family communion or a Passover meal – Read about the Last Supper in the Gospel accounts. Use a loaf of unleavened bread and one cup so that the family can share “One Body” and “One Cup.” For a Passover Seder, read Exodus 12 and then research (via library books or the Internet) what is all involved in this Jewish feast.
Enjoy this holiday season with your family, celebrating God’s perfect love with your children and grandchildren and our redemption through Christ.