Christmas comes with an abundance of traditions, activities, and advent calendars to count down to the birth of Christ & celebrate the season but this year in an attempt to bring my children into the season, I struggled to find anything more than bunny coloring sheets & egg coloring ideas on Pinterest. Easter is overrun by (adorable) bunnies and the message of the season can get lost so quickly.
My girls are at the age where they love holidays. They want to soak it up and do all the things. Hilde kept asking about the Easter Bunny (which we don’t play) and when we would get to do our Easter Egg hunt, so I was committed to finding ways to fill her heart with the TRUE meaning of the holiday and why we as a family and the body of Christ celebrate this special season. I wanted to find fun and tangible ways to fill my children with scripture and awe. Awe much more powerful than a giant bunny leaving candy eggs in the yard and a basket filled with goodies.
Recently, I think as the girls have started to get older and I’m now pregnant with our third child, I’ve been more convicted (and convinced) that we must be our children’s teachers. We need to be pointing them to Jesus and scripture daily – a relationship with the Lord isn’t just reserved for my quiet times but something for my whole family! Not only do we teach them about the world, but we teach them who made the world. Not only do we teach them numbers and letters so they can do well academically, but so they can read and understand scripture! Not only do we teach them manners and how to behave in public, but we teach them why and who our ultimate authority is (hint: it isn’t me, it is the Lord!)
Deuteronomy tells us that His Word should be written on our hearts. That we should teach them diligently to our children, talk of them when we sit at home & when we walk in the world, when we lie down and when we rise (6:6-7) and in Proverbs we read that we should “train up a child in the way he should go sot that even when he is old he will not depart from it” (22:6). Our responsibility starts now when they are young and it is a daily undertaking. Not overwhelming – nothing has to be huge and over the top – just daily walking with the Lord and sharing him and his words with our kids.
Our church put together little Holy Week activity bag and so we took it home with us and I found a pretty piece of wood in our garage to display it. It was the first time we used this countdown to Easter and I loved it! We initially planned to do talk about each day at dinner but I found that doing it first thing in the morning was exiting for the girls (because the got to move Jesus to the new day) and allowed us the whole day to continue talking about it.
The Road to Easter: A Holy Week Countdown
Set up the board with all the items in order and move Jesus down the road each day as you countdown to Easter! Feel free to read all the accounts of the gospels or just one. You can also think about activities or crafts to do to keep the conversation going throughout the day! Here is an Easter Pinterest board where I’ve saved some fun ideas to do together.
Day One: Palm Sunday
Symbol: Palm Leaf
Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19
Jesus arrives in Jerusalem with a warm welcome. Crowds were laying down palm branches and robes while cheering “Hosanna!” Which means “save now!” This is a fun one to physically act out with palm leaves. You can also make your own leaves for a fun hands-on craft for the day!
Day Two: Monday
Scriptures: Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19: 45-48, and John 2:13-22
Jesus cleanses the temple and drives out the money changers. Do a little spring cleaning of your own together and gather some toys or clothes to give to charity.
Day Three: Tuesday
Symbol: Tea Light
Scripture: John 12:20-36
Jesus predicts His death and encourages his followers to live in the light “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” There are so many verses about light and darkness in scripture too to add to this like Matthew 5:16 if you want to dive into this theme with your kids! Lighting the candle in a dark room is a great way to show how light travels in darkness and talk about how we can be lights to those around us.
Day Four: Wednesday
Scripture: Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:1-6, and John 12:4-8
Judas agrees to betray Jesus and hand him over to be arrested for the price of thirty pieces of silver. Talk about what it means to betray and how money can sometimes influence decisions we make.
Day Five: Maundy Thursday
Symbol: Communion Cup & Bread
Scripture: Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-23, and John 13:1-17
Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum, which means commandment and this refers to John 13:34 when Jesus commands his disciples to love one another. This is reflected in the example he gives us by washing the disciples feet the night of the last supper (including Judas who he already knew would be his betrayer).
They are sharing in the Passover meal which was to remind God’s people of how He protected the Israelites during the final plague in Egypt with the blood of a lamb over their doorway. Now Jesus is about to be the blood of the lamb that saves all who believe.
Think of ways that we can love one another and follow Christ’s example.
Day Six: Good Friday
Scripture: Matthew 26:47-27:44, Mark 14:43-15:32, Luke 22:47-23:43, and John 18:1-19:27
On Good Friday we remember Jesus’ death on the cross. There are so many activities for today depending on the age of your children. We have never made one, but I love the idea of making a resurrection garden together and this could be a great day to do it. This year we made resurrection rolls with he girls and some friends.
Day Seven: Saturday
Scripture: Matthew 27:45-61, Mark 15:33-47, Luke 23:44-56, and John 19:28-42
The curtain of the temple separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple is torn in two showing that Jesus’ sacrifice removes the barrier between God & us! Jesus is buried with a large stone & guards to protect His body.
Day Eight: Easter Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 27:62-28:10, Mark 16:1-19, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-18
Christ is Risen! He is risen Indeed. Alleluia! Because Jesus conquered death, we all can live. Not just eternally, but live in freedom today too! Gather with other believers to share in this glorious day!
Make your Own
It isn’t hard to make your own Countdown to Easter! Lots of these trinkets can be found at Hobby Lobby, your yard (the rock), or even in your junk drawer. Check your Halloween storage for an extra tea light and cut off a corner of a new sponge in your cleaning box. Also, these symbols are just suggestions! You can find other things to represent the days – maybe a Barbie bread loaf for the last supper or a couple nails from the garage for Good Friday! The most important part of this is to have something for every day and a Jesus that can move forward each day. I found a pretty piece of wood in our garage to display it on and keep it on our table all week, but you can also get creative with how you set it up!
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