Easter is a time of year for reflection, introspection and celebration! It’s a time in life when Christians ponder the highs and lows of our Savior’s last days on earth. We walk through Jesus’ timeline, pausing to consider each word or act He said and did both in the public eye as well as within the intimacy of a chosen few. It’s also an incredibly beautiful time of year. Who can’t help but smile at the new woodland creatures discovering their world, or feel rejuvenated by the scent of flowers in bloom? Grass finds its yearly shade of green, and we begin to pull out recipes for salads, grilling, and smoothies. However, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and other holidays, it can become convoluted with diluted distractions that turn our eye from the cross and onto things that actually have nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter – the ressurrection of Christ.
My family is all about rediscovering the unfathomable sacrifice Jesus gave us at Easter. We also enjoy exploring creation that so resplendently shows off God’s handiwork at springtime. How do we enjoy both, without losing focus on Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection? Some friends have asked me to post some traditions our family enjoys during the Easter season. I hope you like the ideas and use them if they work for you. We’d love to know what your family does, so feel free to post your ideas, too. Have fun!
1. Corn husk crosses. Every year, my mother-in-law sends each of us a handmade corn husk cross. It’s simple to make and costs nothing. They last year after year, so we collect them and use them with our Easter decorations, like sticking them in the basket of colored faux eggs on the kitchen table, to quietly reaffirm the true meaning of Easter. This is a great craft for kids to make and give away to friends, neighbors, or as a service project for teens to give away. (Side note: One year, our mail was stolen from our mailbox just before Easter…yep, the crosses were in there. We knew that whoever took our mail would find the crosses, and then hopefully find Jesus!)
2. Resurrection Eggs – Beginning twelve days before Easter, we gather as a family each night and work our way through the eggs . After several years of using them the kids know what is in each one, yet still it amazes me (even at their older ages now) how much they look forward to them. It’s a great way to reiterate Scripture so they know it is history and not just a story. Resurrection Eggs are sold online, and I’ve also seen them at Wal-Mart and local Christian booksellers. The accompanying picture book, Benjamin’s Box, is lovely, however the eggs come with Scripture sufficient for enjoying the eggs.
3. Easter plate – Opinions vary about the Easter Bunny. This is a family matter, but I will suggest what we’ve done. For the younger years, we put out a plate for the EB with carrots on it. However, the plate makes the difference in the message we send to the kids. We bought ours from Abbey Press. Check it out below! We really liked that it helped bridge the two. I couldn’t find this one currently for sale on the internet, but you could paint one yourself, which nowadays is pretty easy. Ceramic painting kits are available in the kid craft section of Target, Wal-Mart, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc. Or, if you feel extra creative, you could spend a little time at a do-it-yourself pottery store and design one.
4. Books – When little children aren’t so little anymore, Easter Bunny, Are You For Real? by Harold Myra is a great book that helps explain the tradition of the EB. (Shh – there’s one about Santa, too.)
5. More books – Speaking of reading, some favorite books we pulled out for many Easters are Only God Would’ve Planned It That Way by Todd Barsness and Easter ABC’s by Isabel Anders.
6. Tenebrae service – Attend a Tenebrae service at church. This is a solemn service offered within the last three days of the holy week. It symbolizes the seriousness of the suffering Christ endured for our sin. This inspiring opportunity is great for families with children who can sit quietly for 30min-1hour. All ages are touched by the dramatic silence, soft music, candles, communion and prayer.
More ideas to come in part 2…