By Barbara Rainey
First posted on EverThineHome.com
Did you know that bunnies and chicks have nothing to do with Easter?
What a surprise!
Yes, I know that they are the focus of most Easter celebrations. They are comfortable and cute … unlike the cross and death at the center of the real Easter.
What Jesus accomplished on the cross is the pivotal moment in all of history, the greatest victory of all. As Easter week approaches, here are seven ways to make Holy Week and Easter Sunday meaningful, memorable, and worthy of the attention and celebration the Resurrection deserves.
1. Have your kids reenact Palm Sunday. Help them cut out fabric or construction paper for costumes and palm branches. Make a Hosanna banner to hang across the mantle of your living room stage for the performance. Review the story in Matthew 21:1-11 to find roles each family member can enact. Then have an adult read the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry as the children act it out, and end with a prayer of gratitude.
2. Buy seven 3-inch pillar candles and then download the DIY candle wraps in our ETSY store to apply to the candles. Arrange them down the center of your table or along a fireplace mantle or on a tray in your kitchen.
During Holy Week follow these steps for meaningful daily devotions beginning on Palm Sunday:
On Palm Sunday light all the candles (1-6) except the seventh that says I AM the Resurrection and the Life. On this day read John 6:35 and 51. Then talk together about what it means that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Then blow out all the candles.
On Monday, light candles 2-6 (everything but the Bread of Life and not the Resurrection and the Life). Read John 8:12 and talk together about why it’s important that Jesus is the Light of the World. Pray and then blow out the candles.
On Tuesday, light four candles (3-6), then read John 10:9. Talk about doors and why we need them and how Jesus is like a door. Why did He describe Himself that way? Then blow out the candles.
On Wednesday, light three candles (4-6), read John 10:14-15 and talk together about Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Pray and extinguish your candles.
Thursday’s Scripture is John 15:1 and 5. After lighting two candles (5-6), talk about vines, how grapes grow on vines, and what they need to flourish. How is Jesus like a vine? Pray again together and blow out the candles.
On Good Friday light the remaining candle and read John 14:6. This verse contains a trinity of names Jesus uses for Himself. Talk about what they all mean to us as His disciples. Pray together and blow out the candle. It is a somber day worth our honor and remembrance.
On Resurrection Day light all seven candles and read John 11:25. Make this a day of celebration and joy for the greatest miracle of all time has accomplished our salvation!
3. Use Resurrection Eggs to help your kids learn about Easter. God has used this resource to help millions of children understand the Easter story.
4. Watch the film Jesus together to feed our image-driven minds a picture of the awe-inspiring life of Jesus as He taught, loved, healed, and then died for you and me. The film is free for streaming online at jesusfilm.org.
5. Attend a Good Friday service. If your church doesn’t have one, go to another local church’s services. Gathering with other believers in a time of reflection and truth of what Jesus did for us the day He died on the cross will add greatly to your Easter experience.
6. Make Silent Saturday a day of mourning. Keep your blinds pulled or lights off all day to remind everyone that the Light of the World was extinguished on the cross. Cover your Holy Week candles with a black cloth for the same message. Help your family feel a sense of the loss and devastation the disciples felt the day after their Savior had died.
7. Celebrate BIG on Easter Sunday! Wear all white to remember our heavenly attire one day and to symbolize we have been washed white as snow by the blood of the Lamb.
Plan a beautiful table scape setting an all-white table and using the seven candles mentioned in idea number two above. Use lots of red rose petals on your table to represent His blood during Holy Week. Then on Silent Saturday remove the red petals and prepare vases of white roses or tulips to place on your table early Sunday morning to declare “Christ is risen” to everyone present!
End your Easter gathering with friends and family for a party with lots of balloons, sparklers, music, or any kind of festivities you can imagine.
Resurrection Sunday is the greatest celebration of all for believers in Jesus. Without the cross we would have no hope and Christmas would be meaningless. Because of what Jesus accomplished for us, let’s celebrate and worship with exuberance so all the world knows Jesus is alive forevermore!
Be sure to visit our Etsy store for different Easter resources to help you focus on the real Easter!
Barbara shares some additional Easter ideas in “20 Ways to Celebrate Easter.”
My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)
As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.
In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.
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