There are parades and new dresses. There are Easter eggs and bunnies. There aren’t any empty tombs or folded grave clothes. How would a stranger know what we were celebrating?
Easter is the most important religious holiday in the Christian calendar. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ and His triumph over death, hell and the grave. It’s a time we should celebrate…but we should know precisely *why* we celebrate. These activities may help in this.
Making Palms: Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday. Churches often hand out palm fronds to wave during the service. In our area, that’s easy. There are palm trees all over the place. However, if you don’t live in an area where there are trees, green construction paper or poster board work well. Draw lines on the paper to resemble the palm leaf and cut them out. While you’re doing this activity, read Matthew 21: 1-11 and discuss what happens. This will help everyone remember the event.
Seder: The Last Supper was a Seder. In our family, we have a similar meal, following as closely as we can the traditions. However, our Haggadah (the words, songs and prayers) is from a Christian perspective. It is also a reenactment of the Institution of Communion. This meal is served on Maundy Thursday and it prepares our hearts for the rest of the week.
Red Eggs: We learned this from our Ethiopian brother. Instead of dyeing the eggs in the normal pastels, we dye ours red. The shape of an egg is similar to that of a drop of blood. This reminds us that Christ shed His blood for us, to redeem us from our sins. When we exchange the eggs, the giver says, “Christ is risen!” The receiver replies, “He is risen, indeed.”
Hike to the Cross: There is a replica cross at the top of Mt. McCoy above Simi Valley. It was put up sometime in the 1800s, both as a religious symbol and a landmark. Every year our church offers a hike to this cross; usually it’s on Palm Sunday as there are too many activities for Easter. However, seeing that cross reminds us that Jesus died on a real cross. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t clean. It didn’t smell good. He did it anyway…because He loves us so much.
Easter is a fun time, but it is also a serious religious time for Christians. It’s important to make sure that we all, adults and children, understand the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the grace that now allows us contact with our God.