Thursday, February 23, 2017

10 ways to celebrate Jesus during Easter



Easter is coming friends. For this Christian stay-at-home wife and mother, this means "the super bowl of all Christian holidays" is right around the corner. Every year I've tried not to confuse my kids so my search for the ideal Easter season experience continues.

We all know that Easter has been commercialized. My youngest is 4 so when we go to the store, I have the habit of asking her, "what is Easter all about?" and she tells me "Jesus." Then we proceed to look at the Easter decorations. We agree that most of the things we see are not directly related to the reason for the season. While we are not boycotting anyone nor trying to be kill joys, we do try to find what works for our family. Here's what has worked in the past 9 years:

1. Read Bible passages related to Easter - we stick with the Gospels and we read straight from the Bible most of the time. It is important to me that they hear the words of life straight from the source. The less I use other books, the better it is. I don't want them to have to relearn a story they can know correctly since childhood. When using the Bible, I am speaking to their spirits as well as to their minds. Their spirits because that's how God created all of us. The words of life are deposited there and stay there bearing fruit for a life time. Their minds because they are kids so I answer whatever questions they have in a way they can understand. 

2. We watch cartoons about Easter - I have found that some cartoons are better than others. I curate them (I know, I'm serious about my screen time) and we have found some are closer to the Bible than others. There are many options on YouTube and I have found some great ones in the store for $5. My thought is, we can watch other cartoons any time during the year. Easter is about Jesus so we hope to honor Him even with our TV watching. Do my kids watch other stuff during Easter? Absolutely. My goal is to be sure that we watch the Eater stories more often during this season. It's all about building up for the big Resurrection Day.

3. We create our own Easter Play - this is no big production but we have so much fun reenacting the Triumphal entrance. I am yet to find a local (Jesus centered) Easter play we can attend, so we have had a lot of fun doing our own Eater play. I think that the details of the Bible stay with the kids if we reenact them in a play. The kids are the actors, the audience and the costume designers. Great fun! 

4. We attend a local Easter Egg Hunt - if someone from out of Space dropped in the America I know during Easter, they'd find MILLIONS of Easter Egg Hunts. I'm not opposed to them for I attend them with my kids. I do my usual candy confiscation (are you serious? We're not gonna get cavities on Easter!) and I assure the kids that the Bible stories we read have nothing to do with the activity we are attending. I also assure them that Jesus loves to have fun and so do we. 
Easter Sunday 2014
5 - We go to church on Easter - and we don't stop that good habit after Easter day is over. The excitement continues throughout the year. Our pastor wisely reminds that every day of the year is a great day to celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive. 

6 - We don't focus on new clothes - I noticed a few years ago that new clothes were quite the focus of the American culture I came to belong to. I feel compassion for people who can't afford such things. While I am blessed to have new things to wear, I make sure that I embrace that fact that Jesus doesn't require new clothes for worship on Easter or on any Sunday of the year. He does want to give us a new heart. 

7 - We prepare a special Easter Meal - I say special because unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas we don't have a set menu but we do make it special. One year I baked a cute cake for the kids. I can't remember what I did last year but the goal is to get our family around our table to break bread as we thank God for the victory of Jesus.

8 - We have Communion as a Family - my husband leads communion and the kids love the the experience. I think we do that the Friday before Easter. It's a joy to remember what Jesus did for us and why He sacrificed His life.

9 - We teach something new - While the kids have been listening to the Gospel for many years, I intentionally teach something new every year. It's the same story but I might choose to emphasize a different part every year. Better than that, I ask them what is the new thing they learned that they didn't know last year. I do this as an adult and it is fascinating. 

10 - We prepare our hearts - All the outside preparations shy in view of what God really requires of us during this season. He's after our hearts. I hope to lead this one by example. I don't require my kids to fast or to do anything outside of our "organic" way of living for Christ. I do know that God wants my heart ready for the blessings of this season and I want to be an example to my kids on how a prepared heart is the key ingredient for celebrating Jesus during Easter. 

• What are some of your special ways of celebrating Jesus with your family during Easter?

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