Easter is approaching, and your family likely has a few fun activities planned for the weekend. I have fond memories of Easter growing up – extended family members coming to visit, attending a special church service, and of course chocolate. Now with two kids of my own I want to be intentional about how we celebrate with them. I have to admit, I find Christmas much easier to get “into”, and Easter somehow seems to take me by surprise each year. But as a Christian, I want to enjoy this holiday and make it into a rich celebration of what truly is the centre of my faith, having fun with my family while doing so.
Here our 4 things we will intentionally be doing with our kids this weekend; comment below and share your own ideas!
1. Get your kids involved in baking and decorating. There are endless ideas out there – bunny crafts, egg wreaths, etc. I personally love these “stamp” cookie cutters that I found in a shop here in Germany (Depot). They are easy for even the youngest to use and produce beautiful cookies (cute enough that they don’t need any extra icing or decorations – yay for less sugar :p)
And of course dyeing eggs…here’s a pic of my son last year (in a white t-shirt, what was I thinking?!):
These activities aren’t about the “projects” themselves, but bonding with your children and inviting them to be part of something special.
2. Tell / Show / Read Them the Easter Story. Our son is not even 3 years old but he can sum up what Easter is all about: “Jesus dead, then…not dead!” That is the simple but amazingly profound reality of Easter. My husband and I (and Caleb, since he ended up waking up just before the movie started) watched “God’s Not Dead II” last week. While not quite an “Easter” movie, the message is what Easter is all about – “My God’s not dead, He’s surely alive!” That truth changes the way we live and work, the way we do marriage, the way we parent our kids.
This weekend we’ll show our kids the Easter Story from the Beginner’s Bible on YouTube. It’s a great half hour video clip of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection – very appropriate for toddlers (as well as older kids and adults!).
I believe we as Christian parents should be the first to tell our children about the Good News of how Jesus demonstrated His love on the cross. Easter is a great time to attend church but we shouldn’t just leave it up to Sunday School teachers to explain to our kids the faith that we ourselves profess. Even if your kids are young, tell them the truth plain and simple; don’t underestimate what their little minds and spirits absorb! And use the symbols that abound around Easter anyways (eggs, etc.) to tells stories and portray truths like forgiveness and new life.
3. Have fun! I never grew up getting gifts on Easter, but here in Germany it seems more common. Our kids get Easter baskets from their Oma & Opa and loooots of chocolate from their Great-Oma, and I think it’s very special for them. My sister in the States hosts a huge Easter dinner each year, the highlight of which is a giant Easter Egg Hunt throughout the farm that all kids, young and old, participate in. Of course we want to celebrate Jesus in our hearts, but these other things don’t take away from our adoration of Him unless we let them.
4. Make it about others. As I’ve written before, holidays can be a really special time of making family memories, but also a really hard time for some people. There are lonely, elderly people who have no family left to celebrate with. There are those mourning the loss of loved ones. There are people new to your culture who may not even know what Easter is or how to celebrate it! At some point this weekend, what if you invited someone like that into your celebrations? Growing up, we often had new people at our dinner table for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, and while it stretched me at times as a child, I am very thankful now that my parents set such a good example in opening their home and practically demonstrating love to others.
This Saturday we will be loading our BBQ onto a trailer and going with some friends to the housing complex for immigrants in the city. We’ll be spending the afternoon grilling burgers and talking to refugees there. Many of them come from Muslim backgrounds, and in their culture and religion if you believe in something you SHOW it. In our bit of training about how to reach out to Muslim refugees, we were told that they would be more offended if we DIDN’T share our faith with them. If Christians have such good news to share, why would they be quiet about it on the biggest holiday on their religious calendar?