One of the thing that's really hit me since having children, is how little a deal I have made of Easter in the past. As a christian, Easter is the big celebration - remembering Jesus death and resurrection stands at the heart of my faith, and yet so often, the day would creep up on me unexpected, a couple of chocolate eggs would be exchanged, and the day would be over in the blink of an eye.
When I began to think about the time and effort I have put in to preparing my family for Christmas, I began to realise that somehow the balance had got a bit skewed. We spend a month building up to Christmas, preparing our children's hearts to remember what its really all about, and yet Easter got next to no preparation at all.
And so we became convinced that we needed to change that; that somehow, our girls should be as excited in the run-up to Easter as they were to the run-up to Christmas.
And so we have started some traditions. This will be our third Easter with Ava, and our second with Heidi. Gradually, we are building up a set of traditions that help our girls understand what Easter is really all about.
So here are some ideas if you're seeking to make your Easter meaningful this year!
1. Resurrection Garden
The idea here is to make a little garden with you children and place a tomb in it, covered over by a large stone (the tomb is a cut out potato), on the night before Easter Sunday, you can roll the stone away, and transform the garden into a flurry of life, using little flowers etc. It's a beautiful visual of the miracle of Jesus resurrection... and that through his resurrection, life comes! You can see how we made ours here.
2. Countdown Eggs
The idea, similar to our family Advent Calendar, is to unfold the Easter story bit by bit as the week goes by, and to hopefully help the girls to understand that Easter is not just about spring chickens and bunnies (cute as they are!) An egg is opened each day from Palm Sunday, and inside is found a verse and an item which tell the next part of the story... If you'd like to find out more, you can read about them here. They really helped build up to the big day last year!
3. Easter Breakfast
This was something we started two years ago. A special meal is central to any celebration. We wanted to have a meal together as a family where we could enjoy each other's company, make the day a bit special and share the Easter story. Of course, boiled eggs and soldiers were a must, and a little treat in everyone's place... little easter baskets filled with chocolate eggs and Easter biscuits... Of course, you could have an Easter lunch, or dinner... but we wanted to celebrate in the morning the fact that Jesus had risen!!
4. Telling the Story
The telling of the Easter story is a key part to our Easter breakfast. We highly recommend "The Beginner's Bible" or the "Jesus Storybook Bible" by Sally Lloyd Jones for little ones. Its wonderful to be reminded of the story behind this celebration... and if you've made a Resurrection Garden, it makes a great set for any playmobile or little characters to reenact the story!
5. Easter Nature Hunt
This is a really cute idea which we are going to try for the first time this year. Each child gets a list of items to find on a walk, or in the garden, each of which can be used to tell the Easter story...
1. Something pointed and sharp to represent the crown of thorns
2. Something made of wood to represent the cross
3. Something dead to represent the Saviour's death (a leaf or something?)
4. Something darkness to represent the darkness
5. Something hard and round to represent the stone rolled across the tomb
6. Something alive to represent Jesus' ressurection
I'm thinking Ava's just about ready to give that a go this year!
6. Bake Resurrection Bread
This fabulous book from the Good Book Company has some resurrection bread that we're going to give a go this year... we'll keep you posted!
What Easter activities have you got in store for the next week? Please share them below and make sure you give some comment love!