If there is one thing I’ve learned about parenting is that it requires intentionality. Whether you want your kids to sleep in their own bed, be potty trained, or to speak and treat people with respect it requires intentionality.
For Kevin and I, we really wanted to be intentional early on about our faith. There are so many confusing thoughts and doctrines on Christianity and who we really are. We wanted to be intentional about introducing our daughters to who Jesus really is and why we live our lives in the light of His grace. There are a bunch of ways we do this, but for me, my passion in this house is definitely over the holidays.
If you know me at all, you know that I love Christmas -Yes, I am already counting down.
“Judge me – I see you
It started before my oldest was born, but wanted them to be able to see Christ everywhere in their world, especially in our celebrations. So, without stripping the fun, I’ve been intentionally praying for ways to make our holidays more Christ-like or focused, specifically where the holiday really is about Him. This is what brings me to…
A controversial term for a very uncontroversial season. The name of this particular holiday can get pretty dicey. I could get into why you should use one name over the other, but I won’t here. Note, I typically say Resurrection Sunday, however, my babies don’t understand that big word yet. BUT they do know that Easter is about Jesus, so for now, and here in this article, I’ll use this word. It’s little people (aka kid) friendly.
I said to a friend the other day after a very intense idea hit me, that Easter is really, for us as believers, harvest season. Churches around the globe are gearing up for the ultimate declaration for our faith- the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Churches are preparing, sermons are being crafted, plays are written and performed all with the goal of drawing people to know Him and His love. It’s harvest season people. And harvest for His body must always first begin at home.
Whether you are leading little ones, partnering with your husband, or walking out your life single. Transformation in the church must originate in our personal lives and stories at home.
**Here for the resources only and not my story? Skip down to the downloads now.**
For me though, growing up in the church, I always celebrated Easter and Resurrection Sunday (the name fluctuated back and forth). However, it always paled in comparison to how we celebrated Christmas. It seems to me, that more homes near me focus on infusing Christ into Christmas than they do on His death and glorious resurrection. This isn’t an either/or for me. However, while there are so many fun traditions that come with this time of year (YES, my girls are both getting easter baskets, going on Egg hunts, etc), I really wanted to do something similar to what I did for Christmas. I wanted them not to just get caught up with the fun, but know that this fun (and very busy) time of year is all because of THE excellent gift we were given at the cross.
While I’ve designed this for my girls, I’d be lying if I didn’t say being intentionally focused on them didn’t help me. These are short and sweet little moments that you can extend or leave as is. So if you, like so many of my friends, are deeply engaged in church life and this season seems to busily blow by, consider posting these for yourself. Or, if you’ve found yourself a bit distanced from church and your faith, or the faith you’d like to know more about, consider these too.
At Christmas, I created a “Road to Christmas” where I identified some traits of Christ with scripture and simple explanation for the 5 days leading up to Christmas. It became our advent calendar and we hung one sign each day until our final one on Christmas day. Before the fun of the gifts, we celebrated the best gift of all. The one that didn’t lay under a tree, but came that we might live. It went great! Every night, in small bites enough for my 3yr old, we shared the love of Christ. By Christmas day she was just as excited about the last day on her calendar as Christmas itself. That anticipation is what I hope to build here.
I have decided for Easter that there will be 6 days this week on our calendar. The Road to the Cross is my loose title, but who knows I may be more creative in the future.
We will cover these 6 topics or ideas that I believe are most important about the Resurrection Experience. This is a high overview but I promise I make it simple for the kiddos (or us busy adults)
- God’s desire for our salvation and why we need it
- Christ’s service to all
- Our sin for His forgiveness and grace
- His Victory (over Satan, death, and our sin) and our Hope
- The divine exchange (our sin for his righteousness)
- The Power of the Resurrection: Freedom over sin and death.
Here are the materials you’ll need:
- A way to display your calendar
- A printer (preferably color, but will communicate the purpose even in black and white)
- **Resurrection Eggs (purely optional. I won some last year and I adore them, but they are not needed. You can definitely make your own altogether)
- **Rewards: stickers for your memory verse if you so choose. Details below
Remember, the goal is intentionality, not just making it pretty, although that’s a nice benefit.
So if you’re short on time (I know I am!), just print and tape to the wall. It’s not worth the stress to make it “look right” and instead end up doing nothing at all.
The calendar will roughly look like this. I’ve included some talking points and ideas for each day. Bookmark this for later if you don’t have time and click the skip button to just print your resources now. You can come back and read these instructions by day if you need to. I recommend reading it the day before, but if you’re like me, don’t feel bad if you sneak a peak earlier in the day (at lunch or during naps) and leave your calendar activity to right before bedtime. Both work.
Remember, being intentional is better than perfection any day. (I AM preaching to myself here!!)God honors our efforts. I truly believe He does.
There are optional activities included for each day. Without the activity, it takes no more than 5 minutes to hang each sign. If you do the activity, it’s maybe 15 minutes in total. It will, of course, go longer if course if you have a dialogue with your children.
RESOURCES ARE LINKED BELOW THE CHART! (CLICK THE LINK OR CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW)
*There is a pdf version of this down below*
|Day of the Week
Tell your kiddos what is coming. Decide how to display your countdown. I got this really cute clothespin line from the target bins for $3 I keep them up on our mantel and change them out for the season. See pictures here.
Memory Verse: 1 John 4:10
Reading: 1 John 4:9-10
Introduce the main scripture.
Explain the symbols of the Cross (where He died), the bread (He is our bread of life, and He was broken that we might be full), and the water (He washes us clean from our sin). This is a demonstration of His love for us.
I use this AWANA friendly version for my littles “God Loved us and sent his Son” that my oldest has memorized already. I’m only using this one memory verse all week, but I will include others. If your kids are older, challenge them to learn the full verse and maybe even a few others for a special Easter sticker or rewards. I’m all for simple and easy to reinforce but not big enough for them to think it’s the only reason we study scripture. Ideas include:
|Our Imperfections and His Desire
On this day have a brief discussion about how we all fall short. We are all imperfect. Even we, as parents, make bad choices and have bad thoughts. But God’s desire was to free us from them, so He hatched a three-fold plan- First, to send his son to Earth to show us how we should walk, talk, and treat each other. (This point is a great Christmas connection!) But also, his walking on earth served as a larger point. It reveals that living to the law, while it is a good guide to meeting God’s Holy requirement, Christ’s perfection helps us to see that on our own we will never be able to fulfill God’s penalty for sin. We all still fall horribly short. Second, allow Christ to die in our place to fulfill the perfect requirement as payment and remove that burden from us- if we would only accept His gift. Third, to resurrect Him. Resurrection ensures that we wouldn’t just be free from sin, but death and the power of the enemy in every our lives as well. Satan can still attack, but his actions are rendered without power or sting! We’ll talk more about his plan in the days to come.
|The Last Supper
At my old church, we used to recreate the last supper meal on the Thursday before Easter, complete with our pastor washing the feet of every leader. It was a much smaller church than I attend now, but the statement left a mark. I want my girls to see that Christ was loving, kind, and a true servant to all– even to Judas.
After walking all day, which was the most common form of travel in that time, when visitors arrived for a meal, they could expect their feet to be washed. In biblical times, foot washing was usually assigned to the lowest servant, which is what made it a huge deal for Christ to knell to wash their feet, including the one who would betray Him. We may never know how people will treat us, or what people will do to us, but even if we do know, we are called to love and serve everyone. The love of Christ and His example empowers us to do so, and do it in a healthy way. (I’m not getting into how to keep safe boundaries in this discussion, just the respect for life- all life, even those who are unkind to us).
Activity: Consider washing their feet just like Jesus. I’m a firm believer that my kids should see me as a follower of Jesus too, striving and wrestling like them and imperfect. I feel like this sign of humility is great for parents to acknowledge our power and our surrender is to God as well. We are their authority, just as Christ was to His disciples, but service is for all.
The True Cross Experience (Joseph Prince)
(Go to 5:55)
Or use the link below:
|The Divine Exchange
Good Friday is a holiday that represents the day Christ died on the cross. While all hope seemed to be lost since our savior had died, it actually was our moment of great hope. When Jesus died, he took our sins and, in their place, gave us His righteousness. Our bad thoughts and choices forever were exchanged for His right standing and position with God for anyone who believes. Christ died that we might live! Once we accept Him, though we are always maturing and getting better, we are permanently secure and forgiven by God through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Activity: This is the day we will dye eggs most likely, to draw the connection between the expectation of new birth from live eggs, and the resurrection of Christ from the tomb on Sunday. I’ll show my girls this video this day to follow up with yesterday’s video. They’ve already seen it and we narrate it. My oldest understands it and it great for growing in Christ for me too. A wonderful reminder.
Chains Broken- Year of Jubilee Video
|Open Access- Chains Broken, Veil Torn
While physically Christ died and was laid in a tomb, a physical veil was torn in the temple. This veil kept ordinary people, with the exception of the high priest, from accessing the Holies of Holies- a place where God’s divine presence dwelled. The moment He laid down his life, that separation was torn in two, representing our new access to God. Christ not only broke the spiritual chains of sin and death but with His perfect offering, He gave access through Him to God, our Father. We can now come boldly to the throne of grace. (Heb 4: 16)
Activity: I’ll show my girls this video this day to follow up with yesterday’s video. They’ve already seen it and we narrate it. My oldest yells when the chains break with excitement.
After three days in the tomb, God the Father raised Christ from the dead. We were granted forgiveness at the cross, but on Sunday, we were granted power, specifically the power over death and the grave. The gift of eternal life is a tangible reality to all that believe. Sunday morning represents the great hope that our Savior lives! He lives and continues to be with us through His Spirit. (This is a great place to extend to Pentecost for older siblings). Sunday morning represents the permanently forgiven life that we received with His death, and the power to overcome darkness with His resurrection. The chains that were broken on the cross remove the power from the enemy, unless we surrender it. Satan has no control and death has no sting! The curse of Eden has been defeated with resurrected Savior Jesus Christ.
Activity: We’re going to have an egg hunt this day. There will be traditional eggs as well as the Resurrection eggs. We gather all the resurrection eggs and kind of explain it with the directions that come with the kit. We have a huge family dinner and honor the power and freedom that come with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For a PDF version of this calendar click here: Just the Calendar- Easter Post
Print your resources using the links below.
I print mine double-sided in color, so I only hang one page a day, but work with what you have! =)
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Are there any great traditions that you have? Any ideas that mean a lot to you that I’ve missed? I want to improve this and get better, so please share your ideas and feedback in the comments below.
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