As Lent approaches this week, I wanted to share some traditions and resources that we’ve used for our family in the past. Before you dive into what you’d like to do, though, I encourage you to read this post I wrote last year around Easter. As always, the principles and motivation behind what we do is what matters the most, so please consider the ones I mention in this blog post before diving into what you choose to do this year. I pray you find these ideas helpful.
Similar to preparing our hearts during Advent for Christmas, Easter should be an anticipation as well, and the more time we can focus on the resurrection, the better (of course, we should be doing this year-round, too!). There are a variety of ways to observe Lent, but our favorite from past years has been to read though Amon’s Adventure together as a family. Another resource that I’ve considered, but haven’t personally used yet, is The Lenten Tree Devotions. I first heard about it from Joy Cherrick in this video, and recommend checking our her suggestions mentioned here.
Our Annual Easter Tradition
I wish I could give appropriate credit for this tradition that has become our family favorite, but I’m afraid I heard about it from another mom years ago who’d found it elsewhere, and never knew where it originated!
Each year on Good Friday, we hand our kids their empty Easter baskets and head outdoors. We have them fill their baskets with as many rocks as they can carry, and then, after each child lugs their basket back to where we can gather, we take time discussing how the rocks represent our sin and the weight we carry around as sinners in need of a Savior.
We then take a piece of red cloth (usually whatever red t-shirt I can find in the house) and cover the baskets, usually setting them up on the refrigerator where the children can still see them, but not touch (we have trouble with that command around here). We discuss how the red cloth represents Christ’s blood that was spilled on Good Friday for our sins, and how it covers our sins.
On Saturday…we do nothing. We wait. And we talk about the waiting the disciples and followers, family and friends of Jesus must have experienced and the many emotions they felt on that Saturday as they waited and grieved.
On Easter Sunday morning, we allow the children to remove the red cloth to discover that the rocks have been replaced by gifts and treats. We then discuss how Jesus’ resurrection means that he took our sins and gave us the gift of His perfect life – filled with goodness, truth and beauty so that we could find ultimate pleasure and satisfaction in Him and living for His glory. It’s been such a sweet visual to explain to the children the heart of the gospel story, and help us begin the weekend of Easter with a focus on remembering the resurrection.
Complete Guides and Collections of Ideas
This year, for the second time, we are using this Easter Guide by Brighter Day Press. I’m excited to begin on Palm Sunday!
A few years ago our family followed this Holy Week guide by A Gentle Feast and loved the collection of poetry, hymns, recipes and craft ideas. It’s free and I highly recommend it! It’s labeled “morning time” but this can be done at breakfast or dinner, before bed, or whenever you’d like to create the tradition with your family.
Years ago, we used several of these free and simply Easter ideas from ABC Jesus Loves Me. We’ve also used this $5 Take me to the Cross guide. This was the resurrection bun recipe where my at the time three year old got angry and declared, “Jesus stole my marshmallow!”