Easter 2011

Easter is coming up in a few days and we’ve been having all sorts of fun at our household getting ready for it!  When I was young, my mom thought carefully about what holidays she wanted to emphasize by celebrating with great hoopla and excitement.  As I have become a mother, I have done the same and given careful consideration to what holidays I really want my children to remember, anticipate, and understand.  So we celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in style… just like my mother did for our family when I was little.  Of course.

Last year, we began celebrating 12 days before Easter Sunday.  Each morning, there was a basket on the kitchen table with something in it that somehow pointed to who Christ said he was.  For example, our first day, there was a basket with sidewalk chalk in it.  The poem attached read, “A gift of chalk to draw and play, and remind us He is the Way.”  One day it was little Easter eggs decorated as sheep (He is the Good Shepherd), another is was grapes (He is the Vine), and another it was bread we used for our breakfast (He is the Bread of Life).  They looked forward to finding out what was in the basket every morning!

During Z-urchin’s morning nap (ah, it is with great fondness I remember the days when Z would take two naps), I used Betty Lukens flannelgraph to tell the stories of what Jesus did that last week before He died.  First, we would sing a few songs (Ho-Ho-Ho-Hosanna and Nothing But the Blood of Jesus), then search for 2 Easter eggs.  Inside the eggs, they found something that somehow related to our story for the day.  They would look for that element while I was telling the story and they exclaimed with great joy when they encountered it.  Often, they would retell the story (well, X-man wanted to creatively make up his own story usually) using the flannelgraph on the board.

We also did many crafts and activities- below are the highlights of last year’s “12 Days of Easter”-

They loved hunting for the eggs and cracking them open to discover what was inside! How I love the enthusiasm of young children- it is so refreshing!

The retelling of the story of the Triumphal Entry

We drew (with the new sidewalk chalk!) palm leaves on our walkway.

We placed jackets on our "donkey" and X played the part of Jesus in our Triumphal Entry re-enactment.

Z-urchin found the gift of chalk- perhaps here is where he developped his 'taste' for it.

The story this day was about Jesus washing the disciples' feet, so I traced their feet and they used sponges to paint them.

Our church had invited a Jewish man who works with Jews for Jesus to share about how the Passover Feast points to Jesus, the Messiah. So, armed with that information (and a booklet I got from the Jews for Jesus table that Sunday), I helped the kids paste pictures of Passover food on paper plates as their craft the day we did the story of the Last Supper.

We painted a picture of a cluster of grapes with "paint" made from koolaid. Wow- did that smell good!!!

The kids loved helping me bake cupcakes and then decorating them to look like bunnies!

Adorable!

All dressed up and ready to go to church bright and early on Easter morning!

X-man and Princess K really enjoyed our Easter celebrations. (Z-urchin was a little oblivious, being just 6 months old.)  They didn’t fully grasp the concept that all the fun was to get ready and anticipate Easter Sunday.  The day after Easter Sunday, they woke up and wanted to know what was in their basket!  🙂

A couple of months later, X saw that I was toasting some bread and that one piece had been cut in half.  He exclaimed, “Mommy, just like Easter! The bread is broken!”  Ahhh, all the effort was so worth it!  I look forward to the day when he completely understands what that broken bread really means.

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