Easter – communicating Easter values with our kids and teenagers.

Easter is this coming weekend. What do your preparations look like for Easter? In the last few years, I have been determined to not let the biggest and greatest event of the Christian calendar get relegated behind Christmas in terms of significance. Therefore, I have tried to put some important times in place that hopefully we will repeat again this year as a tradition in our family.

In the week leading up to Easter, we celebrate the Passover as a family. We use the resource from Jennifer Dukeslee (http://jenniferdukeslee.com/a-messianic-passover-seder-for-families-with-children/ ) Google and find an outline that would best suit you and your family and their ages. This one works really well for us with the adaptation of timing the ending of cooking the lamb roast until an hour after we start the celebration so as to keep it warm. Matey thoroughly enjoys it and loves the symbolism.

The Good Friday March in our local town that incorporates the stations of the cross will also be something we prioritise this year. It is a fantastic way for the kids to experience the Easter story and what it means and how to apply it to their lives.

When the kids were younger, they loved the “Resurrection Eggs”. These are obtained from a Christian book seller such as Koorong or Word in Australia, or Amazon in the US, costing ~$30 or you could make it yourself. You could even list the items and have the kids source them out for you. Basically there are a dozen plastic eggs and inside each egg is a symbol from the story of Jesus’ death & resurrection. These symbols are a little donkey, silver coins, a cup, praying hands, leather whip, crown of thorns, nail, dice, spear, cloth and stone with the last one empty to signify the empty tomb. My kids absolutely loved this hands on aspect to the Easter story and Matey in particular would spend hours playing with it and telling himself the Easter story.

An Easter Scavenger Hunt is a similar idea. The hunt has ten objects to find, and the kids then share what each object represents. Something sharp (Jesus’ pain), something prickly or thorny (the crown of thorns), something made of wood (the cross), something dead (Jesus’ death), something dark in colour (the darkness that came over the world after his death), something round and smooth (the stone placed in front of the tomb), something soft (the cloth that Mary found in the tomb on Easter morning), something living (Christ’s resurrection), something colourful (our hope and joy that comes through Christ sacrifice on the cross), something light in colour (Jesus is the light of the world).

Creating a “Resurrection Garden” is something that kids love doing as well. Making a garden on a plate to signify the scene of the cross, the cave with the stone rolled away etc. For more details, google Resurrection garden.

“Sense of the Resurrection” ebook is a great resource for families for Easter. Amanda White has written an ebook of activities to explore Easter using all of your senses. There are 12 simple activities for families, using your five senses. It costs $9.99USD. She also has a Christmas ebook – “Truth in the Tinsel” for helping to celebrate Christmas for young children and it is great. http://ohamanda.com/a-sense-of-the-resurrection-an-easter-experience-for-families/

In the lead up, I am going to have some chocolate surprises for the kids and relate them to surprises from God. I want to inject more fun and laughter into our home. Treasure hunts, fun decorating with dry branches and wooden painted eggs, taking it in turns making up stories about the people who witnessed Jesus’ last days on earth etc.

My kids love cooking so that is also a feature of this time. Resurrection buns (google for a recipe) are easy to make for kids of all ages. We will also try baking hot cross buns this year. Princess and Matey can google new recipes and they can surprise me by cooking them. I also like the idea of cooking things with a surprise inside and then applying the principle of ‘don’t just look at the outside but it’s the inside that counts’ principle to everyday life.

Kingdom values of generosity, forgiveness, faith, grace, mercy, redemption, reconciliation, restoration and hospitality are going to be explored more fully in our family this Easter and we are planning on brainstorming how we can really implement these values into our life.

With teenagers in the home, I’ve decided that we will spend some time examining the themes of Easter this year and sharing times when we have felt absolutely hopeless as though our dreams have died, but how the outcome has been somewhat different and inspiring hope. Much like the story of Easter – how there was utter darkness, hopelessness, despair, grief, anger, confusion but how Jesus triumphed over everything and brought new life, freedom and hope. I believe that we need to live with an expectation that no matter how grim and dark our world and dreams seem to appear at the moment, that we can be assured of God’s light and love shining through and that there is always hope and joy and freedom that will come in the future. Hopefully this will spark some great discussion in our home. It will also help in the sharing of family stories from generations past when our parents, grandparents and great grandparents struggled and overcame.

What are your plans for celebrating Easter with your family? I would love to hear them, especially if they involve teenagers engaging with the Easter story, and perhaps incorporate them into our family next year. Feel free to comment below with your ideas and thoughts. Thanks.