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 what the true meaning of this special season:
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.
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 next suggestion). You could also include the story of the Passover from Exodus 7-12. Encourage questions.
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.
Family Easter Baking Together
Make Empty Tomb Buns (see recipe at the bottom)
Or Sweet Ukrainian Easter Bread called Paska
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.
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.
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 CS Lewis), The Ten Commandments, The Robe or the JESUS film.
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!”
The Good News Glove. Use this colorful glove, available at many Christian bookstores, is a great way to communicate the heart of the gospel in an easy manner. It can be used alone or with the “Good News Comic Book.”
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.
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.
by Anne Feenstra
Recipe for Empty Tomb Buns
After these have been baked, discover that there is an “Empty Tomb” in the center of each bun, along with some sweetness at the bottom – yum!!!
Favorite prepared yeast dough recipe or frozen crescent rolls Melted butter Large marshmallows Cinnamon White Sugar
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Roll a marshmallow in melted butter and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Enclose sugared marshmallow in a small amount of dough, sealing together well. After placing on cookie sheets, let the buns rise until almost doubled in size. Then bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350-375° F oven. Immediately remove buns from trays, especially if any of the sugary mixture has seeped out of any buns.
Notes Prepared buns may be placed seam-side down on the tray for a smooth bun look.
seam-side up for a slightly rougher look like that of a rock. Seam-side up also helps to prevent more seepage of the sugary mixture.
Plain marshmallows (without melted butter and the cinnamon-sugar mixture) may also be placed in the dough. Without butter, the dough is easier to seal.
- Marshmallow – body of Jesus
- Butter and cinnamon-sugar mixture – the oil and spices Jesus’ body was anointed with
- Dough – the tomb
- Cavity in bun – the empty tomb