If you have young children or grandchildren, you know that the real significance of Easter can be lost in petting zoos, egg hunts, and chocolate bunnies. While these activities can certainly be used to point your kids to Christ, it’s important to be intentional about teaching the true meaning of Easter.
One of the most powerful things you can do is model how important Easter is to you. As your children see your passion for Christ, they will be encouraged to follow. Remember your children will grow up fast, so don’t waste the opportunity to share the love of Christ in new, engaging ways with them during the Easter season.
Here are 10 ways you can create family memories around the holiday which are rooted in faith:
1. Invite a friend to Easter service.
Lead your children in a prayer for their friends, asking God to show them who would be a good friend to invite to church. When you know who you’re going to invite, your small children might draw a picture invitation. Your teens can text. Your kids might even invite an adult that’s a friend of yours. Not many adults can resist a sincere invitation from a child. Offer to sit with your visiting friends and maybe bring something special for them to church like a small candy bar with a ribbon.
2. Write Jesus a thank you letter.
This is something the whole family can do. Have everyone sit around the dinner table with paper and writing utensils (pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc.). Write personal letters to Jesus, thanking Him for dying on the cross and for the radical difference His love has made. After Easter dinner, these thank you notes could be read aloud to one another.
3. Volunteer to help at an Easter event.
Whether you’re passing out candy, monitoring a carnival game, or directing traffic on Easter Sunday, you can be an example of service to your children. And if there’s any way for your kids to volunteer too, even better! Most kids attend an egg hunt or similar event with a recipient mentality. They are there to receive candy and to be entertained! But if your kids can be on the other side as helpers, they learn to serve others and to look for opportunities to share God’s love with other kids.
4. Read a new story that tells a timeless truth.
If your kids have grown up in church, they may shift into cruise control when they hear the familiar story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. You can introduce a different story to illustrate anew the price Christ paid. Try books such as The Tale of Three Trees, The Loveliest Rose in the World by Hans Christian Andersen, The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs, or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
5. Turn the lights out.
I love this idea from my friend Angie Mosteller at CelebratingHolidays.com. Starting on the evening of Good Friday, keep the lights off in your home until Easter morning. What a memorable way to illustrate the darkness of our world before Christ’s resurrection. Make sure you are prepared with candles, camping lanterns, and/or flashlights so you can move freely around the house after dark. You may want to tape down the light switches so you don’t forget to keep the lights off. You can still use electricity like normal, just lose the lights. This is a beautiful way to remember that Jesus is the Light of the World. And you will no doubt make some funny family memories in the process.
6. Take turns reading the Bible aloud.
Give each of your children an index card with a chapter and verses to read. Passages from Mark 14 or John 19 and 20 work well. Have the children find the verses (help them if needed) and read them out loud. In this screen-driven world, we don’t read aloud to one another very often. Proclaim God’s Word right there from your family room, kitchen, or bedroom!
7. Make an Easter shoebox.
Have your children draw a picture of Jesus and cut it out. Wrap the picture in white cloth or tissues and place into a shoebox. Put a rock on top of the lid. Tell your kids not to open the shoebox until Easter Sunday. On Easter morning when your children open up their shoeboxes, Jesus will be gone. In His place, they will find treats and chocolates. You can leave a slip of paper that reads, “Jesus is no longer here. He has risen!” If you make this an Easter tradition, you can keep the pictures your children draw of Jesus. It’s a neat way of showing your kids how they drew Jesus through the years. The artwork serves as a reminder as they grow up that Jesus has always been there for them.
8. Eat breakfast outside.
Most of us eat our breakfast indoors, so stepping outside for breakfast would be a memorable change of pace and place. On the Saturday or Sunday of Easter weekend, you can eat outdoors and talk about what it would have been like to be one of Jesus’ disciples on Easter morning. How do you think they felt when Mary Magdalene said, “I have seen the Lord!”?
9. Color as a family.
Find coloring pages with resurrection themes. Have a time of coloring for all the art lovers in your family. You can also get out paint and create Easter masterpieces for the family. As your kids are coloring or painting, you can listen to worship songs or an audio Bible, playing the chapters about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Display the art around the home on Easter Sunday.