How To Celebrate A Christ-Centered Easter Part 2
Our 6 Ways to Ensure Our Traditions Don't Cloud The Reason
Easter has been one of my absolute favorite Christian holidays and it all started thanks to my beautiful childhood. I still vividly remember how my parents used to run around the garden trying to hide the Easter eggs before sending us out to go and search for them. We did this every. single. year well into my Highschool years and even after that (eventually we even hid our own eggs). Some years we were blessed enough to go out and search for huge chocolate Easter bunnies and baskets full of Easter eggs and others we were only allowed to find a handful of eggs, but it really didn’t matter to us, because it was that moment alone that counted and nothing else. I still remember the excitement, the adrenaline, the shouts of joy. Then, as we got older, I got to re-live those years through my own children as grandpa and grandma continued with the hunts and we would excitedly join in, come rain or sunshine. Sometimes we would still find Easter eggs around the garden well after Easter. See, Easter was and always will be the sweetest time of the year, and although I have all of these beautiful memories of chocolate eggs, bunnies and Easter egg hunts, we were also raised to know the true meaning of Easter, and whenever I hear “Easter” my heart goes straight to Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Our traditions never clouded the Reason.
I’ll never forget the conversations A’s dad and I had about celebrating these kinds of holidays. I grew up in a traditional home where my parents allowed us to be kids with wild imaginations and we believed in the Easter bunny, the toothfairy and santa. A’s dad, however, didn’t have much of a childhood and believed it was all pagan and should be banned in our house. I agreed at first, but quickly realized that this was not a realistic approach, because no matter how much we tried to shield him from all the “pagan traditions” inside our own home, he was surrounded by them once he stepped outside of the house, and asking a 2 or even 3 year old to not like a bunny that brings you chocolate or a big fat man with a beard who brings you gifts just isn’t possible. I still remember A’s first year in playschool – he was around 2 years old and they had a big Christmas celebration at school, where santa came to visit and gave each of the little ones gifts. The school told us about a Christmas party, but we didn’t have the details and when we received the photo of A sitting on santa’s lap, with a big gift and an even bigger smile, his dad almost had a heart attack, but at that very moment I knew that I wanted A to have the opportunity to a magical childhood, just like mine, and that I had to change our approach. The fact of the matter is that everywhere they go or look during these times they are going to see Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunting events – every shop, every market, and even at school – so I decided to try and find a middle ground – a way to remind him about the reason behind the celebration constantly, without stealing the joy and the fun surrounded by it. I wanted him to have the traditional memories I was blessed with whilst still keeping our Easter centered on Christ and decided to share it with you today. So here’s 6 ways I use to ensure our traditions doesn’t cloud the Reason for the Season.
I Create symbolic Links
Creating symbolic links to everything surrounding Easter is one of the best ways to create subconscious reminders about the reason behind Easter. If A is going to see eggs, bunnies and chocolate chicks everywhere he goes during Easter, I want him to immediately identify it and remember the real reason of the season, so I’ve been teaching him symbolisms ever since he was 3 years old in fun and exciting ways – like arts and crafts, baking and painting, because we know that children learn through using their senses.
Some of the symbolic links I use are:
We know the egg gives life to a chick, so the egg symbolizes our new life through Christ Jesus.
The shell of the egg represents the empty tomb reminding us that not even death could defeat Jesus, and that He rose from the dead. The chocolate treats remind us of God’s sweet sweet love for us.
The Easter bunny
For the Easter bunny I have always used some worksheets to help me out, because we use different aspects of it to teach us about the “real Easter bunny” (I will attach the links).
It’s fur is as white as snow which symbolizes how white we are because Jesus washed all of our sins away. (Isaiah 1:18)
It has big ears to remind us that we should be quick to listen. (James 1:19)
It has big eyes to remind us that we should look carefully and choose what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
It has big feet so that it can hop and tell others about Jesus.
They are quiet in prayer but hop with thanksgiving and rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
They eat what is healthy by filling up on God’s Word every day (Philippians 2:13)
There is so much more you can add, but that would all depend on the age of the child.
Yes, you can even symbolize the actual hunt. I ask A how he feels when he searches for and eventually finds the eggs he is hunting for, and the answer is usually the same – happy and excited. Then I explain to him that the happiness or joy he feels when he finds the eggs or the surprises, mirrors how the women felt when they found Jesus’ tomb empty and realized He had risen, and that is how we feel when we are reminded of Jesus’ resurrection and all He did for us.
Fun Fact: Did you know Easter egg hunts actually helped children learn about the significance of Easter? Early Christian missionaries used to hide Easter eggs painted with biblical scenes for children to find. Once the children found the Easter eggs, they had to tell the story associated with the paintings.
These are just a few examples of how I create symbolic links so that when A sees the Easter treats, etc. he automatically thinks of Jesus and what He did for us, and in this way these things serve as a constant reminder of the true meaning behind Easter.
We prioritize Christ before indulging in the traditions
We use the week before Easter weekend (starting on Palm Sunday) to go over the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and to celebrate Jesus and all He did for us. Some people refer to this as a “holy week”. This week we are focused only on Jesus so that when we get to the Easter weekend A’s heart is already in the right place. I do this in the following ways:
- Resurrection eggs
We’ve been doing the resurrection eggs for around 3 years now and it’s been a hit every year. I love it because it’s quick and easy to set up and A loves it because every morning, he gets to open up an egg and find a little surprise that links with the Easter story. Each egg contains a Scripture that we can read together and an item/ activity that links with the Scripture. I also try to show him a video of that part of the story. There are so many different ideas on Pinterest, but this year our resurrection eggs have the following:
Day 1 – Jesus rode on a donkey (Luke 19:33-38) – art activity
Day 2 – Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16) – 3 silver coins in the egg
Day 3 – The last supper (Mark 14-17-25) – A piece of bread/biscuit in the egg
Day 4 – Jesus prayed in the Garden (Luke 22:39-54) – Art activity and we learn the Lord’s Prayer together
Day 5 – Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head (Mark 15:17-20) – A big thorn in the egg
Day 6 – Jesus was nailed to the cross (Mark 15:24-27) – A cross in the egg and we make a cross together
Day 7 – The tomb was empty – An empty egg because the tomb was empty and then he gets his Easter surprise basket because the sweet surprise of Easter is that Jesus is risen.
There are many different ideas of resurrection eggs on Pinterest and I try to change it up every year and adjust it as A gets older. The resurrection eggs also help to open up a conversation about the different Biblical events.
- Story rocks
About 3 years ago, A and I made story rocks together and we use them every year as well. A finds a rock every morning and then has to tell me the part of the Easter story displayed on the rock. We add a little more detail to the story every year. This is also a fun bonding activity to do together.
- Through Christian movies and stories
Both A and I are huge fans of the Superbook series and during the week before Easter we spend a night every week to watch their Easter episodes. It is completely free and can be watched online or on their app. The episodes we use are:
Season 1 – The Last Supper
Season 1 – He is Risen!
- Through Baking
One of our favorite Easter activities are to bake “resurrection cookies” together. We love this as you go through the resurrection story while you bake, giggle and have lots of fun together. It is also a fun sensory activity as it requires you to use all of your senses to fully live into the story. I went into much more detail of this on my previous post – just tap the link for the recipe, steps and other details – https://letterstomywildling.com/2020/04/06/9-simple-ways-to-have-a-christ-centred-easter-without-losing-out-on-the-fun/ .
An extra activity that you can do during this week is a family supper where you prepare a meal together, dine around a table and read the resurrection story together / pray as a family.
Attend a Church service together or find an Easter play or show
Many of the Churches in our area has Easter plays or shows and I try to take A to these when we are able to (sometimes they restrict the access of children under a specific age). Our Church also has special Church services over the Easter weekend and we try to attend those together to remain focused on Christ.
Have the Easter bunny visit on the Saturday
Having the Easter bunny visit on the Saturday also helps to keep our Easter weekend more Christ centered as we get to stay focused on the crucifixion which happens on Good Friday and the resurrection which happens on Easter Sunday. This, however, is not always possible as we are usually blessed with rain over the Easter period, but we try this as far as possible.
I try to include something spiritual in A’s Easter basket
This could really be anything – I’ve added a Bible, a Bible story book, A Bible themed coloring book or even just a little Jelly bean prayer where I placed 8 colored jelly beans in a little bottle with a tag of what each represents: red is for the blood Christ gave, Green is for the grass God made, Yellow is for the sun so bright, orange is for the edge of night, black is for the sins that were made, white is for the grace Christ gave, purple is for the hour of sorrow, and pink is for the new tomorrow. It can be anything, big or small, as the sole purpose is for it to be a subtle reminder.
6th and LAST WAY
Include a Christ centered scavenger hunt in their Easter egg hunt.
Once again there are many free printable resurrection scavenger hunts available on Pinterest. You can either print it out as a form or hide clues in those plastic easter eggs and hide it in the garden for them to find. Some of the things you can include are:
- Something black – our sin
- 2 sticks – The cross
- Something red – Jesus’ blood
- A rock – The tomb
- 3 of something – 3 days in the tomb
- Something white – Our sins are washed away and we are clean
I’m sure there are many other ways to ensure that your Easter remains centered around Christ, but these are just some of the small ways that I use. I also just want to include a little disclaimer, because I know how controversial the celebration of most Christian holidays can be. This post is based on my own experiences as a child and mother, my own opinions and my own personal choices, and I am by no means trying to tell you how to celebrate your Easter, but rather to inspire and help fellow moms with new ideas on how to celebrate a Christ-centered Easter in a fun, age-appropriate and educational way. I know this is a topic that many Christian parents struggle with, because it’s so easy for the chocolates and easter bunny to steal the show. We never quite know what is acceptable or what should be allowed or even where to draw the line. I do believe that each and every family celebrate how they feel is best and suits their beliefs best and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way. As a mom I just feel like I should give my boy the opportunity to have a magical childhood, because they grow up so fast and it really only lasts a small while. So instead of teaching him how to see the wrong in everything, I choose to teach him how to see Jesus in everything. I have found that in doing the abovementioned things, I’ve been able to turn Easter into a fun, intimate and special experience that has brought us together and will hopefully help A create unforgettable memories and traditions that he’ll be excited to pass down to his children one day.
Ps. Easter is a magical miraculous celebration in it’s own – Our God died on a cross, defeated death and rose from the dead! The Easter bunny’s got nothing on him – He is our very own Superhero!
We hope everyone have an EGGciting and EGGstra blessed Easter!
Lots of Love,
~ A & Mommy ~