By Jennifer Waddle, iBelieve.com
Many of us have wonderful memories of Easter morning, which includes baskets full of chocolate, egg hunts, and new dresses for church. Those traditions are fun and can build fond memories. But what about the real event we are celebrating? Do our children even know why we have a day called Easter?
Here are 5 ways to celebrate in a whole new way; 5 ways to make meaningful memories—without even one mention of the Easter Bunny.
1. Tell the rest of the story.
Have you ever wondered why we don’t we approach Easter the same way we prepare for Christmas? Most of us get two weeks off of school, travel to see family, decorate our homes, and buy presents.
Easter gets one day, with an overload of sugar and fridge full of multi-colored eggs!
Now, I’ll admit, part of me is glad we haven’t turned this holiday into such an expensive, elaborate affair, but the other part of me is sad that we gloss over it so quickly; that we don’t linger long enough to let the fact that “Jesus is risen” turn into an amazing celebration.
This Easter, tell the rest of the Christmas story. Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger. Shepherds and angels were there to witness it. Wise men visited him and brought precious gifts. But Jesus didn’t remain as a baby! He grew up to preach the Good News to all who would listen. Then, He gave us the ultimate gift of Himself,in our place, so that we would have the opportunity to live with Him forever.
Easter truly is the happy ending to the Christmas Story! Let’s make that connection for our kids.
2. Take a sunrise hike
My family is blessed to live at the foothills of Cheyenne Mountain, where the hiking trails are only a few minutes away. Many churches in the area hike to the top of those trails, holding simple, intimate Sunrise Services.
Even if you don’t live near any trails, and your church doesn’t have an Easter Sunrise Service, you can easily have your own—in the back yard! Set the alarm, bundle everyone up, fill a thermos with hot chocolate, and have a simple family devotion as the sun comes up.
(I have a feeling your children will remember it long after the last piece of chocolate is eaten.)
3. Plant newness of life.
With Easer being all about life and resurrection, a trip to the Garden Nursery would be a unique way to celebrate. Each family member can choose a perennial to care for until the ground is ready to plant it outside. Then, year after year, the plants will bud and grow after the long season of winter is over.
What a beautiful, symbolic, way to portray Christ’s death and resurrection!
4. Build a diorama.
Creating a diorama of the Easter scene would be a great project and a way to celebrate all week long. Each person could build their own, using a shoebox, or a more elaborate diorama could be built collectively.
> Choose a sturdy box, preferably with an attached lid.
> Open it so the lid becomes the background and the inside of the box the base.
> Cover with construction paper, felt, or other materials. (green for grass, blue for the sky, etc.)
> Use earth-colored clay to form a tomb and stone that is rolled away.
> Form a wooden cross out of sticks.
> Add flowers, trees, and other details to your diorama. Be creative!
This craft can be a powerful visual for kids, emphasizing the details of the real Easter story.
5. Send a “thank you” balloon.
Many dollar stores sell helium balloons. Purchase them the afternoon before Easter. Then, early the next morning have a balloon send-off. Attach thank you notes, thanking Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross. Younger children can draw pictures. Tie them to the balloons and send them up together.
*This activity would be a great way to begin your family sunrise service. It could segue into a family prayer time and devotion.
Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with the fun activities planned around Easter. Those egg hunts and baskets of goodies are things that bring anticipation and excitement. But, if you are looking to emphasize the real meaning of Resurrection Sunday, and build memories that will last, give one of these ideas a try…no Easter Bunnies allowed.
Jennifer Waddle is best known for words of encouragement as an Author, Speaker and Musician for Women’s Ministry. She currently has three published books on Amazon and is a regular contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com and GotQuestions.org. Jennifer is committed to sharing authentic messages of hope to women of all walks of life. She loves being a wife of 24 years, mom of four, and nana of two. Most of all, she cherishes her time spent in the Word of God, with a cup of coffee and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. Contact Jennifer here: www.jenniferwaddleonline.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.