Sunday, 22 March 2015

Preparing for Easter

2 weeks time is the big day - Easter! So todays blog post is about how we prepare for Easter as a family, in our house.  For some Easter maybe seen as a chance to catch up with family/friends, indulge in chocolate, a break or get a DIY project done over the long weekend. For us, it is the pinnacle point of our faith!  We believe that Jesus is the son of God, completely perfect and spotless, who died as a sacrifice for our sins, who then conquered death and rose again.  Because we believe Jesus is, who He says He is, we remember, reflect and celebrate him.
There are many different ways to celebrate Easter, starting from pancake day, lent or the Holy week.  We want to get the kids excited about Easter and for them to realise it is not just about chocolate (as commercialism would like us to believe) but an important part of our identity.  Whilst I would love to do the whole of lent, during this current season, it has just been too busy.  I am sure this will change over the years but for now this is where we are at.  Our children are aged 11, 9, 7 and 4.  We have to pitch it to keep their attention and for everyone to feel included.  We did do pancake day and we discussed lent as a family.  We have been reading through the book of John together as a family for our morning devotions.  I do believe we are free to choose to do lent or not, we are not bound by legalism.  We start focusing on Easter, 2 weeks before the big event, as we want them to be excited (not bored with it all) and to give them enough time to reflect and think about it all. 
We do an egg countdown (a bit like our advent calendars).  I used an old egg box and some plastic eggs from Poundland.  In each egg is scripture, which will tell the account of Jesus leading to his resurrection and a mini chocolate egg for each child.   This is our morning bible time.  The children will take turns opening the egg, finding the passage in the bible and reading it aloud.  Last year we made a tree out of sticks/branches and I cut out egg shapes.  During this time, the younger ones could colour in the egg shapes and the older ones would draw a picture/symbol of what we were discussing.  We also made an Easter banner so if it was not their turn to colour an egg, they could colour in a character (I do have 4 boys and keeping still to listen, does not always come naturally, so a planned distraction helps).  After we had read and discussed the passage, we would then pray and hang the egg on the tree.  This is what we did last year as Easter fell at the end of the school holidays, so we made the most of the 2 weeks beforehand. 
This year, Easter is before they have the break, so as we do not have oodles of time before the school run, we will not do the tree and the crafts.  After breakfast, we will open the egg, read the scripture, discuss, pray and eat the chocolate.  It will probably take between 5-10mins depending on questions etc.  We choose to read the bible verses rather than the stories as this is more appealing to our older children and as we then discuss what we have read, it helps the youngest to understand.  At the weekends, we have more time and we will do a family Easter craft together.  I enjoy  purposefully making memories with the children.  Sometimes it goes well, other times it does not - either way, it doesn't matter as the goal is to make memories of spending time together as a family. 
Today we kicked off the celebrations by making an Easter garden in the pot by our front door.  I have also bought some Easter themed craft projects which we can do at the weekends together.  Todays project is to sew a Jesus, a cross and a palm leaf. So that is how we start to prepare in the lead up to Easter...
Our Easter countdown readings:
Genesis 3:1-19
Genesis 22:1-14
Exodus 12:21-30
Luke 2
Luke 3
John 2: 1-11
John 11
Matthew 21:1-11
John 2:12-25
John 12:1-11
Matthew 26
Matthew 27
Nothing (We leave the egg empty, so that the boys can have empathy about what it would have been like not to have Jesus)
Matthew 28
We read the children's NIV translation.

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