This sounds amazing, but in reality I will place my children’s eggs and a small gift for each in a homemade den in the lounge, where they will sit and eat them (the den bit is an accidental tradition I came up with four years ago that has been requested ever since). They will probably not want any breakfast or to read a Bible story afterwards. Instead, they’ll bounce around with all that sugar in them while I try to wake myself up with coffee.
It’s important to be realistic when planning faith at home, and to plan something that will work for us in the season we’re in. For my family, the ‘meaningful’ stuff will mostly have happened before Easter Sunday, though I may play some resurrection music while I’m eating breakfast.
Make sure the activities don’t reduce your meaningful connection with Jesus this Easter
Our meaningful stuff will include:
- Reading the whole Easter story from the Bible at some point during Lent. We may do this over breakfast or listen to it in the car using BibleGateway or Audible (where you can find the Bible read by David Suchet, which I think is awesome). We will also listen to the whole story of the Exodus, which gets us ready for our Passover meal on Good Friday (see below)
- Exploring the Easter story by making a storybook of it (what else would you expect from a publisher?). This might be doing some drawings to go in a book where I’ve chosen the text, or creating pictures using Lego, Playmobil or even Shopkins. This might also lead to a stop-motion movie using StikBot (our favourite app for this so far), as my children are into making these videos at the moment.
- Listening to my Passover playlist of worship songs and Hebrew prayers for Passover (see below). I will add a few songs to the list and probably overplay them during Lent.
- Hosting a pancake party for a few children at our house on Shrove Tuesday. They play, and then we eat lots of pancakes (one year I did Pancake Pops: mini pancakes on lolly sticks), and we usually implement one of two creative prayer ideas, such as mini-egg prayers.
- Being ‘ashed’. My children have never experienced being ashed on Ash Wednesday, so we might investigate doing that this year.
- Me nipping out to my local Anglican church for the Maundy Thursday service. I will go to this on my own unless other family members want to join me. I’ve found this is a great way to take in a calm moment with God during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter Sunday), especially the day before we do the big Passover meal.
- A big Passover meal on Good Friday to link the Exodus and Easter stories. We usually invite a couple of families to join us, and it’s always a fun and spiritual time where we discover more about what God did for us. I usually tell these stories during the many courses of the meal using a version of the Godly Play scripts (see below).
- Editing our Passover service in the run-up to the event so it will work for the people we’ve invited and will also include things that are meaningful to us at the moment. I sometimes learn a new Passover prayer in Hebrew using YouTube. This is something I like to do, but it’s not for every family.
That sounds like a lot, but in reality it all fits into our life pretty easily over six weeks with just a little planning. Here are some other ideas that might work for you and your family:
- Use a Lent devotional. If you already have a regular time of Bible reading and prayer together as a family, all you need to do is find a resource that works for you. If you don’t do this regularly, you might want to make Lent a special time when you do.
- Make a Holy Week box. This involves a little prep, but will give you a short reading and a prayer as well as something to do with the things in the box each day of Holy Week.
- Explore what Jesus’ death and resurrection mean to you using Godly Play Lent stories. These are best experienced ‘live’, so you could do a search for a church using Godly Play near you. Alternatively, you can view these on YouTube (go to youthandchildren.work/links) or even look into undertaking some Godly Play training and doing them yourself (check out godlyplay.uk/courses). I’ve found this is a great way to tell huge stories in a short time and still have time to reflect and respond to them, discovering how we each relate to the story and its meaning for us.
- Have a fun time with some open-ended creative moments. As you read or listen to the Easter story, set out a variety of multi-use resources (paper, paints, pencils, card, string, wool, pipe cleaners, sticks, pine cones, magnets, wooden blocks, playdough – anything you can think of as long as it can be used in lots of different ways). The key is to not have a plan of how these items will be used. The ‘rules’ are to respect the materials and to tidy up when finished. This way you could tell the story in three or four sessions and put out the same materials each time with no specific ‘craft’ prep.
- Join in with the things your church does to celebrate Easter. Are there any special events for Lent or Holy Week? I grew up in a church that largely just did something on Easter Sunday, but I’ve since discovered how celebrating Lent, Holy Week and even Passover can prompt a longer focus and deeper exploration of the Easter story. If your church doesn’t do much, you could look at taking part in something that is going on at another local congregation or finding a few people to help you put something on at your church.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure the activities don’t reduce your meaningful connection with Jesus this Easter. Maybe make a shortlist and call a family meeting to chat about what you’d all like to do during this season.