by Jenifer Truitt, Executive Director of Ziglar Family
Note from the editor: This week, we at Ziglar Family extend joyous Easter greetings to our Christian brothers and sisters, warm Passover greetings to our Jewish friends, and — well, just lots of love to the rest of you! Peace!
This year, Holy Week had a whole new meaning for my 16- and 18-year-old daughters: for the first time, my husband and I invited them to join us for our annual Lenten tradition of watching the Passion of the Christ movie.
Easter will never be the same for them, and that’s a good thing.
I have a pretty strong opinion that this movie is not meant for children, even young teens. I wanted my daughters to be mature enough to be able to not only handle the very accurate (and necessarily graphic) scenes, but to be able to then process what the truth of the Passion means to their faith and discuss it as a family.
We didn’t reach this particular milestone in their Easter experiences without plenty of preparation in their childhood years; they knew the story of the journey to Calvary in an age-appropriate way from their very young childhood.
Today I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite “tools” for helping younger children understand the significance of this most holy of Christian celebrations, and maybe you’ll find a few of them useful for your family, too.
Resurrection Eggs were the very first experience my girls had with the story of Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection.
Inside each egg is a little token that symbolizes some aspect of the events from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. The set comes with a story book for parents to read as the children hold and examine the egg and the token. My little ones LOVED this activity, and we often had to do it several times during Holy Week so each girl had a chance to open each egg.
I found the NEST series of DVDs to be just the right level of “intensity” for kids ages 7 – 12. My girls watched these DVDs all year, actually, for two reasons: 1) There is an entire series of Bible stories, not just Easter, and 2) These are the only television or movies they were allowed to watch on school days! ? ?
Live Butterfly Kit
Although I didn’t do this one with my girls, I have a friend whose children look forward to receiving their kit with Painted Lady caterpillars every year, and observing them as they grow, form a chrysalis, and emerge as butterflies. Here’s what she says about their experience:
Our family has never done Easter Bunny (or Santa). Instead, before our kids were born, my husband and I decided we wanted our focus to be on the true meaning of holidays, so we began a variety of family traditions that help to bring joy and togetherness, while still remaining true to the sacredness of the meaning of the holiday.
One of our favorite Easter traditions is butterflies- every Lent since our daughter was born, we have ordered caterpillars and observed their fascinating life cycle… how they change right before our very eyes from cute baby caterpillars to big, ugly, gross caterpillars, constantly molting, to strange chrysalises, and finally to beautiful butterflies. How every year we marvel that there is still life in those dried up crusty chrysalises- and there is always that one that we have our doubts about.
But every year we see the faithfulness and beauty of our Creator, revealing things about our own hearts through His wondrous creation. Isn’t it amazing that Christ can also change our crusty, selfish, sinful hearts into something beautiful for His glory? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
— Amy Moran (mom to Sarah & Brock)
This is a super-fun recipe to make just in time for Easter morning. (And super-easy, which makes it a win in my book!)
Essentially, you simply use canned crescent rolls, butter, sugar, and marshmallows. You wrap the roll around the marshmallow, with the roll representing the “tomb”, and the marshmallow representing Jesus… (ok, I know it’s a stretch, but stay with me here) and when you bake it, and open the roll, the marshmallow has disappeared so the “tomb is empty.”
It’s a yummy roll, and a fun little metaphor. Click here for the recipe!
I wish you all of the blessings of Easter, and pray that you will experience the joy of the Resurrection not just on Easter Sunday, but throughout the year.