5 Incredibly Simple Ways to Spend Easter with Jesus
As of 12:01 a.m. the day after Valentine’s Day, the commercial Easter season has been upon us. The chocolate hearts turned into bunnies overnight, and the Peeps came out in force on grocery store shelves. Honestly though, after the year we’ve had, I kind of hope that in 2021 more of us are going to have a less commercial holiday, and really focus on spending Easter with Jesus.
Easter with Jesus
Easter wasn’t heavily emphasized in my church, growing up. We keep the 7th day Sabbath, so we’re not in church on Sunday, anyway, and I can only remember one time that anyone mentioned having a sunrise service for Easter (it’s cold on the beach in April in New England) and I don’t think my parents took us. Some of my friends had Easter egg hunts at home, some of us received Easter baskets, and that was about it.
Of course, we talked about Easter a lot. Not the holiday, but what it actually represents to Christians–Jesus’ death and resurrection.
We heard the story of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The story of the last supper. We observed our parents regularly taking part in communion, and when we were old enough to understand, we participated, too. We washed each other’s feet, and reflected on His selfless service, and recommitted our hearts to Him. We learned from infancy that Jesus died for us, to save us from our sins. But, we learned that the story didn’t end there. He also rose from the grave in victory over death, His triumph over sin complete (though the battle rages on here on Earth, the war is already won).
And really, that’s what I want my kids to know about Easter. I want the day to be a special reminder that God loved us enough to allow His Son to come here, live a difficult, but sinless, life and die a painful death condemned by our wrongs even in His perfection. I want my sons to understand that just as we have the free will to choose self over God and be sinful, Jesus used His free will to choose to be crucified for us. And, even more important, that He rose again and will come back someday soon to take us home to be with Him forever.
With our ongoing pandemic and the anxiety and uncertainty that comes from having our lives turned upside down, it’s more important than ever to focus our families on the plan of Salvation and Jesus’ soon return. As Christian parents, our primary message is one of hope, love, and assurance–and we should not let current events derail us from this focus. In fact, what is going on in the world should be all the encouragement we need to teach our kids how to look to and lean on Christ for comfort, guidance, and to strengthen our faith. These days leading up to Easter are a perfect time to start, if you haven’t already been making this a priority!
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So, here they are:
5 Simple Ways to Spend Easter with Jesus
Do one of them or do all of them–whatever makes sense for your family! But please use this time to be intentional about spending extra time with Jesus.
1. Listen to Easter Music
Christmas music is something that I absolutely love (and am pretty strict about only listening to between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day), but until I had kids, Easter music really wasn’t something I’d ever thought too much about (other than the Hallelujah Chorus).
However, music reaches people in a really unique way and has a way of sticking with us, so I have found some special Easter music for my boys. We’ve been listening to it for almost a month now.
It’s been fun hearing my kids humming or singing some of these Easter-themed songs as they’re playing or going about their days. What more could I ask for than to have my sons singing about how Jesus washed their sins away, or that He’s alive?!
Having that kid-friendly Easter playlist around has really opened up some conversations with my 3 year old about the Crucifixion and Resurrection that I’m not sure we would have had otherwise. And He’s been preaching the messages from some of the songs in his (almost) daily “church services” that he puts on for his brother, dad, and I.
So, try putting together some Easter music to get the kids focused on Christ this Easter.
2. Use Resurrection Eggs
Have you heard of resurrection eggs? Resurrection eggs are little eggs that each hold a little something that helps you tell the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. Sets are available on Amazon and in many Christian book stores. Our Family Life Resurrection Eggs were kindly gifted to us by a thoughtful church member.
We add these eggs to our little home Easter egg hunt, and as our kids open them (they’re color-coded so we can open them in order), we tell them the story.
Of course you can use the resurrection eggs without an egg hunt, just open them up in order and talk through the story. You can do it advent calendar style (one egg per day leading up to Easter), or you can do it all at once. Alternatively, ditch the eggs altogether and just find some little figurines to help you tell the story more visually.
3. Make Empty Tomb Rolls
Yes, this is a recipe, but it will work best if you work on it together as a family. These rolls are a nice treat, AND a great way to illustrate the story of Mary finding an empty tomb where Jesus had been laid.
Wrap a marshmallow (which represents Jesus) in dough, then bake–the marshmallow melts, creating a yummy sauce, and leaves the roll (the tomb) empty when you open it up (roll away the stone).
Vegetarian or vegan? You can use vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies Vegan Marshmallows, and they’re seriously delicious but didn’t melt as well as I think regular marshmallows would have–it won’t stop me from using them again, though.)
Here’s the empty tomb roll recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil that I used. Try it out! My kids loved it, and my husband and I didn’t have any complaints, either.
4. Read the Easter Story
It’s hard to talk to very young children about Jesus’ death in a way that makes any sense to them. Death isn’t easy for anyone to understand, and its finality makes it extremely foreign to most children. Many kids haven’t experienced the death of a close friend or loved one, and simply explaining death doesn’t really sink in very well. Jesus’ death is even more abstract in their minds for many reasons. They need to hear it, though, and like so many other things, they will understand it more and more as they grow and learn.
It may be tempting to gloss over the crucifixion story with your young children, but I would recommend against it. Now, please understand that I’m not advocating for enlightening your three year old with the details of being nailed to a cross. But tell them that it happened. Tell them that Jesus died. Tell them it was terrible. Tell them that it hurt. Cry with them if you need to, it’s okay.
But whatever you do, don’t end the story there–not with your little ones. Always, always, always follow up that horribly sad, terrible story with the best news that a person can possibly hear–Jesus is alive! He rose again. He emerged victorious from the grave and one day, so will everyone who died believing in Him.
Of course you can read the Easter account to your kids from the Bible, and that will work best with an easy-t0-understand translation. The Clear Word for Kids is what we use for our 5 year old.
If your kids aren’t ready to hear it straight from the Bible, read from whatever Children’s Bible or story books you have (but please check books for biblical accuracy before you read them aloud to your kids!). We love the Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and the appropriate chapters from that book will be one way we share the Easter story with our little guys.
5. Go to the Cross Every Day
Please don’t wait until Easter rolls around once a year to talk to your kids about Jesus’ death and resurrection. They can’t really know Christ until they know what He has done for them. The significance of His death and then His defeat of it is everything.
Ellen White once recommended that every Christian spend an hour thinking about Jesus’ life every day. She said, “We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit.” (Desire of Ages, p. 83)
That makes sense, doesn’t it? So point your kids often to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Don’t save it for Easter, but teach them to be respectful of and grateful for His sacrifice every single day.
Spend this Easter with Jesus!
It does take time and effort to plan out how you’ll share the Easter story as a family, and I get it! For you busy mamas (and what mama isn’t?), I have put together a set of low-to-no-prep interactive worship activities for the whole family (appropriate for families with kids ages 2 on up) and Bible readings with brief accompanying devotional thoughts just for parents. If you sign up, you’ll receive one email each morning for the week leading up to Easter (starting March 28, 2021), completely free. I’m really passionate about the importance of engaging the whole family in daily worship, and I know that it’s not always easy to plan meaningful activities, so let me help you out! If you’re interested, sign up here.
This year many of us won’t have the option to celebrate Easter with a large group of family or friends or by attending a service. But, even spending a simple day at home, you can spend Easter with Jesus. Egg hunts are fun and bunnies are cute, chocolate is lovely and brunch is fabulous, but this year have a Christ-centered Easter and put the focus squarely on the One who died for us. Take advantage of the extra home time to help your kids cut through the noise of all the usual Easter brouhaha so that no matter what is going on around them, they’ll know that our Savior is the real reason we have something to celebrate.
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