Last year I was reflecting on how much we have intentionally put into teaching our kids about the value of Christmas. From retelling the story of the birth of Jesus, family feasts, thanksgiving prayers, serving as a family to teach the power of giving, we really have placed value on this beautiful celebration. A few months later I was having my own personal time of communion and just sitting in the gratitude of what Jesus has done for me. As I listened to a worship song and pictured Jesus sitting at the last supper, I realised as a parent I hadn’t really been intentional in teaching our kids the value of Easter. Sure we had our annual Easter Egg Hunt (for the last 20 years!) and special church services, but as a family we hadn’t really unpacked the power of Easter and built the value into our family heritage.
The resurrection of Jesus is incredible. As Easter came around, I decided that it’s never too late! The power of the resurrection of Jesus was something we could create significant celebrations or family traditions around, I just had to be creative to build stronger values around Easter for our family.
We came up with 5 activities, which we begin the week of Easter and end on resurrection Sunday. Even our adult kids have dived in for the fun! For each activity we would read the scriptures together and then complete an activity while we talked about the stories. We also began by making a wooden cross together and placing it on our dining table as a centrepiece during the Easter season. Below I’ve shared what we’ve done with a heart to encourage you to build your own Easter Heritage for your families:
Activity 1 Mary Magdalene anoints Jesus with perfume
Activity: Make alabaster jars, representing the importance of worship. Paint the jars with symbols that represent Jesus to you. Add different essential oils to the alabaster jars. Place the jars under the cross.
Discussion: Talk about how worship to Jesus is like perfume, it is pleasing to Him and about how important it is that our sins are forgiven so we can be Jesus’ friends.
Activity 2 The Last Supper
Activity: Make unleavened bread together. Find a recipe, shop for the ingredients as a family and bake the bread.
Discussion: Talk about the importance of being forgiven, and forgiving others who have hurt us. Share about how Jesus’ blood washes away our sin and His grace give us the power to always forgive every time.
Activity 3 Jesus Mocked
Activity: Make a crown of thorns from moulding clay. Use toothpicks broken in small pieces to place thorns on the crown. Place them at the bottom of the cross.
Discussion: Talk about courage and how Jesus knows how we feel because of all He went through.
Activity 4 Jesus Crucified
Activity: Bake mini tombs by shaping puff pastry like a tomb and putting marshmallows in the middle. These will become empty tomb rolls when you bake them as the marshmallow will disappear.
Discussion: Talk about the fact that when Jesus was on the cross, He bore all of the sins of mankind, He felt pain and hurt. Share about how the disciples may have been feeling.
Activity 5 Jesus Resurrected
Activity: Create a resurrection feast! We researched together as a family and came up with a menu that would reflect the Last Supper. We invited friends and family to have a celebration resurrection dinner. We included the unleavened bread and some wine and had a communion time of thanks-giving. We also ate the Empty Tombs for dessert.
Discussion: This is a precious time to get the children involved in sharing about what communion means to them personally, and sharing vulnerably as adults to show how much we all need Jesus.
Each year we now create this, ending with a feast or celebration with family and friends. There’s plenty of creative inspiration out there if you start looking! Sometimes we have created so many traditions around celebrating Christ’s birth and so little celebration around His resurrection, which was the whole purpose of His birth in the first place! It’s never too late to build a new tradition or celebration together, remember families are places to build a heritage and grow a legacy.