Photo courtesy of Onilad
If you are like me, you may have been reading the blogs of other mamas and see the beautifully planned Lent and Easter preparations others have been doing with their families. If you are also like me, you long to do something special, but haven’t gotten it together to carry through such a lovely plan. It would be very easy to beat ourselves up and give up bothering to do anything at all for want of doing the best, but I think this would be a big mistake. So, today with a simple plan and a very few simple tools, I jumped in to create a meaningful Easter Celebration for our family. I will share my plan with you in case you’d like to join me. If you are reading this on Saturday or Sunday and haven’t done anything, I urge you to just jump in where you are.
- Bible or Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos
- Notebooks or just plain paper
- Pens/Pencils and Pencil Crayons
- Candle and matches or lighter
Let’s Begin. Each day for today and the next three days following, we are going to follow 5 simple steps:
1. PREPARE: Have everyone picture this day two thousand years ago. What was happening? Why do we celebrate this particular day? Don’t feel you have to give a long lecture or anything overly wordy at this point. Simply remind the children what was going on. For example, today, Thursday, is the day we remember Jesus last full day on earth, the day He celebrated the final Passover Supper with His beloved friends, the evening He was betrayed and arrested.
Light a candle. We do this to remind us that each time we devote ourselves to reading God’s word, talking to Him in prayer or partnering with Him in our lives, Jesus, the Light of the World chases away a bit more of the darkness in our hearts and in the world. Lighting a candle seems to help quiet and focus children and adults alike.
2. READ: We are reading from the Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. I find, especially for our little ones, that this well-written book helps God’s story come alive. (We also read daily directly from the Bible.) You may choose to read from this book or directly from Scripture.
Child’s Story Bible: chapter 44 “In the Upper Room” through chapter 48 “Jesus Before the High Priest”
The Bible: Matthew 26:17-end; Mark 14:12-end; Luke 22 (read one or all three for some different perspectives and details). There is also quite a bit in the gospel of John, which you may want to read, but the passages that apply to today are much longer.
Child’s Story Bible: chapter 49 “When Pilate Washed His Hands” through chapter 51 “The Sun Becomes Dark”
The Bible: Matthew 27:1-61; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18:28 through all of chapter 19
The Bible: Matthew 27:62-66
This was the Jewish Sabbath, so there is little recorded that anyone ‘did’ this day. It is a perfect time to reflect on the devastation and horror those who loved Jesus would have been feeling.
Child’s Story Bible: chapter 52 “The Stone is Rolled Away” through chapter 54 “The Risen Lord”
The Bible: Matthew 28; John 20:1-23
3. REFLECT: After a reading, I have the children narrate (tell back in their own words) what has been read, giving them an opportunity to make the story their own and me an opportunity to hear what the Lord has impressed on their hearts from what has been read. Not everyone gets to narrate on a given day, but everyone needs to be prepared to narrate if called on.
4. PRAY: When we finish our readings and narrations, we join hands and I ask if anyone has anything they want to say to Jesus. We spend some time praying together and then I close when everyone seems finished. One child blows out the candle.
5. RECORD: Finally, everyone including me, takes out their journal and we simply record something that has left an impression on our hearts. Our journals are pretty dollar store books with lined pages, but please don’t feel you have to run out and buy anything. Just use plain paper and put everyone’s papers together in a binder or a folder for now. Sometimes, someone simply writes a word and decorates it with coloured pencils. Sometimes, it will be a scripture copied out. Sometimes, it is a prayer. Little ones generally draw a picture. Even our two-year-old has a little notebook, though it is really just to keep him busy and included while we record our own impressions.
That’s it. Very doable and also meaningful. I would really enjoy something that lasts longer leading up to Easter, so today I am going to record on my calendar for next year, probably for February, to consider what I might plan. However, if life doesn’t allow me to do anything more lengthy, I will not miss out on the chance to celebrate with my family in a simple way.
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