We 2013, we made an more intentional effort to focus on the real meaning behind Easter. This new goal was due to an conversation that happened Easter morning of 2012. As we left for early carry-in breakfast at church, I asked the boys what they knew about Easter in the van. Spider man said, "I think it's something with candy and a bunny." Even though they were only 4 and half, I felt like this was somewhat of a parenting fail for me. Now of course at their age, they were not ready for the more gruesome details of the passion, but I was shocked how little focus I had put on this most important holiday.
Reason For The Season- Manger versus Cross
My son's comment put a spotlight on the fact that that just a few months before I had spent months preparing for Christmas, but not even a full hour preparing them for Jesus's whole reason for living. I noticed how I had three tubs of Christmas decorations, but not one Easter decor. In December we remind ourselves to see the true "reason for the season" for Christmas, but somehow I let it get lost in the spring beauty of new flowers, plans for gardens, and candy eggs. I think this is a very intentional scheme of the enemy. The manger is much less intimidating than the cross.
I tried this week to focus as much, if not more, onto Easter as I did on Christmas. To be more intentional we stopped all scheduled Curriculum and focused a week on Easter. We may not get to focus this directly every year, but we will definitely be more intentional to build worthwhile family traditions into this Most Important Season. It was rejuvenating for ALL of us as we focused our attention on our Savior. All the other busyness of life faded away as I stared with all intent on the perfection of the Cross and the fulfillment of so many Old Testament prophecies.
No "Bible Voice"
I was convicted not to use my "Bible/Teacher Voice" when reading the Easter story. If you don't know what this is, you have not been in a preschool class recently. It is a bit higher pitched than my normal voice, and sing-songey, and the voice I use when reading pretend stories or picture books. It just felt wrong and disingenuous, and conveyed the wrong message to my kids.
Bible Readings to do as a Family the week before Easter
Through Bible Study Fellowship, I was challenged to read straight from Scripture to my kids, instead of all of the kid's books about Easter. Don't get me wrong, they are all great little books, but I do not want to underestimate the Holy Spirit's ability to interpret the Word for my kids. Below are some of the ways we really focused on the beautiful act of love Jesus did for us during this most precious week.
The Week BEFORE Holy Week
Read Matthew 20:17-19 Jesus prediction about his death.
HOLY WEEK READINGS
SUNDAY- Triumphal Entry
- Read Matthew 21:1-17
- Make Palm branches and re-enact story
MONDAY- Jesus cleanses the temple.
- Read Matthew 21:12–22
TUESDAY- Judas begins his betrayal
- Read Matthew 26:14-16
- Passover Feast/Last Supper
- Read Matthew 26:17-30
- Activity idea- eat unleavened bread/ tortillas.
- Jesus's arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane
- Read Mark 14:32-50
- Coloring Page while discussing what you read.
FRIDAY MORNING- The Trial
- Read Mark 14:53-15:15
- Color Coloring Page while discussing what you read.
FRIDAY-Good Friday-The Crucifixion
- Read Mark 15:16-32
- Use Resurrection Eggs to further explain to young children, but I highly recommend leaving the 12th egg unopened until Sunday (see Saturday for why).
Saturday Evening Somberness- Traditionally this is the day of mourning after Good Friday. We tend to jump straight from the cross to the Resurrection, especially with younger kids, without spending the time reflect on the sadness of what just happened on Good Friday. Like my Grandma used to say, you can not enjoy the sweet as much without the sour...take some time to remember the sour. Feel just a little bit of the magnitude of grieving the disciples felt those days before the Resurrection.
We had just a few moment of darkness before the boys went to sleep on Saturday. We turned off their nightlight for just a few moments and talked about the darkness of the tomb. We turned it back on and told them their was an exciting day coming where it wasn't going to be dark in the tomb anymore.
SUNDAY MORNING Easter! HE IS RISEN! The Resurrection.
- Matthew 28:1-10.
- Decorate! Instead of baskets filled with candy and toys, the boys woke up to balloons and streamers celebrating Jesus's Resurrection. We decorate our house with a large He is Risen banner, along with Printable Resurrection Focused Word Art
- Make Resurrection Rolls as you discuss how Jesus's friends laid him the tomb, but he arose 3 days later! You use a white (pure) marshmallow (symbolizes Jesus body). You roll it in melted butter (oils), cinnamon and sugar (spices), and then put it in crescent rolls (tomb). After baking the marshmallow will "disappear"/melt .
Other Easter Week Activities
- Passover Sedar- A family in our church invited us to a Christian Passover Seder. What depth this adds to the Holy Week. We eat the same dinner our Jewish Savior Jesus himself ate with his disciples the night he was arrested. We read the book "Hoppy Passover" before to show the boys what we would be doing. It seemed silly at first, but was extremely helpful in showing what they should expect, and they did very well the whole evening.
- Resurrection Garden- We did a simple grass Resurrection Garden at the beginning of the week (more instructions coming in later post). The boys found sticks in the yard for the crosses. It took longer than I had hoped for the grass to grow. Next year I will buy the quick growing seeds.
- Other Family Devotionals- There are some great resources from Focus on the Family that we incorporated into the week.
- You can decorate your house with a large He is Risen banner, along with Printable Resurrection Focused Word Art. The beautiful thing was through my kids excitement in the morning was they never once asked for an Easter Basket. I feel like we at least fixed our parenting fail just a bit. Now onto asking the Holy Spirit to help me with fixing the many other things we have failed at this year....all a work in progress. ;)