Christian LivingYouth & Kids

Preparing for Easter with our Children

If Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny were both on Instagram, I’m pretty sure we can all guess who would have the biggest following! Easter is so easily dwarfed in our annual calendars by the tinsel and trimmings of Christmas. Yet as Christians we know that Easter is no less important—“we believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thess 4:14).

We have every reason to celebrate Easter!

With fewer expectations and commitments than Christmas time often brings, Easter can be a bit of a blank canvas to shape our own family traditions. If you are anything like me, this can feel both exciting and overwhelming.

With any big event, the run up is a key part of the excitement. My husband has been known to say that the day that the Christmas tree goes up is his favourite part of the season. Whether it’s for Christmas, birthdays, or even holidays, we build anticipation as we spend time preparing and making plans. In the bustle of school term I find it easy for Easter to sneak up on us and to miss that opportunity!

There are lots of ways that we can start the Easter eggs rolling: perhaps making cards for family and friends, planning a few Easter themed crafts, baking or buying Easter foods, and even decorating the house.

As we are going about our Easter fun, I try to weave in opportunities to pass on gospel truths. Our children are all still primary age and younger, so little and often is key. I try to pick crafts and activities that allow conversations to naturally dwell on gospel themes. That might be piping crosses onto hot cross buns and speaking of Jesus’ death, or using eggs and lambs and spring flowers to prompt conversations about the new life that we have in Christ.

In the week leading up to Easter we have a special ‘advent calendar’, where each day contains a Bible verse with a corresponding picture and decoration for our Easter tree. Across the week this takes us through the Easter narrative and provides visual prompts to keep coming back to through the day. I know others who use ‘resurrection eggs’ that do a similar thing.

Whether you go all out with Easter-themed activities from the first flip of the pancake, or just focus on the week leading up to Good Friday, taking time intentionally to prepare can help to get our whole family ready to celebrate Easter together.

What about the Easter weekend itself? It is amazing that for much of the Western world, even our work and school calendars give us time out to celebrate Easter. Our churches often have lots going on and it’s great to get involved celebrating with our whole church family. Joyfully declaring with brothers and sisters, “He is risen!” is always a highlight for me. As we think beyond formal church events, every family is so different—what would be a fun filled happy day for one family could feel like pulling teeth for another! What is it that makes for a celebration in your family?

For us, Easter Sunday often begins with chocolate at breakfast and a bit of a pyjama dance party to classic Easter tunes! Church is then a central part of our day followed by a special roast lunch that we invite others to share. We give gifts to our children, and plan crazy Easter Egg hunts! I know other families who always head to the coast to watch the sunrise.

As with the build up to Easter, we want to keep the truth of the resurrection central in our celebrations. Our Easter advent calendar builds to a special ‘golden ticket’ for Easter Sunday revealing the empty tomb. Over the years we have compiled a playlist of favourite Easter songs that we have on throughout the day.

Whatever shape your Easter weekend takes, pausing from normal routines can be a great way to communicate that the events of Easter are extra-ordinary in every sense of the word! Why wouldn’t we make the most of the opportunity to rejoice and celebrate with our children the great victory that Jesus won as he rose from the grave?

Paul writes, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4).

Our prayer is that as our children grow up, the shape of our family calendar and the memories that they have will match the message that we seek to pass on to them.