What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Easter?
I really want to answer this question by saying, "the Resurrection of Jesus Christ." But in reality, my thoughts usually drift to the beautiful Easter baskets that my grandmother gave me as a child. They were filled with an assortment of colored eggs, wrapped chocolates, and sometimes even a doll.
As parents, though, we want Easter to be more than Easter baskets—much more! Here are 10 ideas that will help you celebrate its real meaning:
1. Ask your family the following questions: "What is Easter? Why does it matter whether or not Jesus Christ rose from the dead?" Then read and discuss John 20 as a family.
2. Take some time to consider what Jesus' death on the cross means to you. Encourage other family members to do the same. On a sheet of paper write down the ways that you have sinned against God. Thank Him for sending His Son to die on the cross for your sins. After spending some time in prayer, destroy the paper—knowing that Jesus' death on the cross paid for your sins in full.
3. We are told in Luke 7:47, "... her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." As you approach Easter, are you harboring unforgiveness for anyone? By faith, release any bitterness to God and let Him be the judge.
You may want to read one of the following books: Growing Together in Forgiveness by Barbara Rainey, Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, or Forgiveness: Healing the Harbored Hurts by Bill Elliff.
4. Read 1 John 4:14-15 with your children: "We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." Then complete the following craft to help your children understand that Jesus' death on the cross provides the only way they can have a relationship with God:
Cut out a cardboard cross for each child. Explain that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and that He wants us to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Help the children write some examples of their sins on their crosses. Then cut them into puzzle pieces. Discuss how Jesus' death on the cross totally paid for our sins, and put the puzzles together—as an illustration of how Jesus wants to put our lives together again.
5. Ask your children to pretend that they are news reporters witnessing the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. They can either present a "live broadcast" to the family, or write a news article about their observations. If you have older children, as a family read and discuss Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Easter.
6. Have a family or neighborhood Easter egg hunt using Resurrection Eggs®. Each set includes a dozen plastic eggs that contain symbols of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
7. Make a batch of Resurrection Cookies.
8. Check out the new Easter resources from Ever Thine Home® such as the Behold the Lamb Easter Wreath and Messiah Mystery.
9. Discuss ways your family can share the hope of Jesus Christ with others. Do you have an elderly neighbor whose day would be brightened by a batch of Resurrection Cookies? Is there someone who you could pick up for church or include in your Easter dinner?
10. Hold an Easter Sunrise Service for your family (if possible, outside). Start just before the sun begins to rise—talk with the children about the darkness. As rays of sunlight appear, explain that light permeates darkness—that the Light overcame the darkness when Jesus rose from the dead. Assign every family member a part in the service. Someone could give a brief Easter message, others could read Scriptures, sing, prepare a special handout for the family sunrise service, seat family members on special chairs, etc.
Long after we have celebrated Easter Sunday, may we continue to bring the joy of the Resurrection into everyday life. When you and your family members see the sun rise throughout the year, you may want to remind one another, "He is risen … risen, indeed! He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6).
Copyright © 2014 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.