When we think of Easter, we think of dying eggs, hiding and hunting them, lots of chocolate and jelly beans, and maybe a nice ham dinner. But there are important reasons to teach our families about the miracle of the resurrection that will help them remember why we celebrate. Here are some tips for making your Easter a little less frenzied and a little more holy:
1. Read and Discuss
Spend the evening before Easter discussing the reason for the celebration and reading the story of the resurrection. Have your children close their eyes as you read and imagine what they see. Or, have them act it out. Use these passages to study from: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20. Read ahead of time so you are prepared to share.
2. Focus on Symbolism
Fill their baskets with more than chocolates and jelly beans. Fill it with symbols of Easter and explain to them what each thing means. The grass and the eggs representing new birth. The colors showing us the glory of God's creation. White lilies represent the purity of Christ.
3. Put God First
If you and your family attend church, consider delaying the baskets and candy until after the meeting. This will help keep your children calm during the worship and help them understand about waiting for good things - the three days it took Christ to rise again, waiting eagerly for the second coming and the joy of waiting for proper times for important life decisions.
4. Seek Beauty
Use the egg hunt as an opportunity to explain how we sometimes have to look for beauty in a world that is a little crazy. It isn't always easy to find joy, but it is always worth the work and seeking.
5. Make it Special
Do your best to make dinner a special occasion. Set out your finest and have the family dress up. Make it a real celebration and open up discussion by talking about the miracles in the life of the savior. Use this as an opportunity to liken the scriptures to our own lives. Talk about persecution for beliefs and standing up for what is true. Talk about life missions and following Christ's examples by seeking out opportunities to serve.
6. Play Music
Play beautiful hymns as the background soundtrack for this special day. Holy songs add to our worship experience and it is truly prayer set to music.
7. Be Reverent
Make this a day of reverence and awe. Continue the day by having a quiet evening of sharing family experiences and goals. Talk about hopes and dreams and expectations and how they fit in with following God's plan for us.
8. Take Time to Pray
Gather as a family and kneel in prayer. Lead your family in a message of gratitude. Allow each member who would like to add their own thoughts.
9. Express Gratitude
At bedtime, set aside a few moments with each child and express your gratitude for the resurrection and the hope it gives you for a brighter future. Share your joy of the knowledge you have of the savior and all that his birth, life, sacrifice and resurrection made possible for you. Allow your child a few minutes to share their thoughts. Remind them of the power in their own personal prayers and encourage them to offer one up in private.
Holidays are fun and they are about family. But they can also be used to teach valuable lessons about faith and hope. Make your Easter a joyous celebration of life, new birth and personal and family growth. Honor the redeemer in whose name we celebrate.