Friday, March 5, 2010

Putting Christ Back Into Easter

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I took my kids to an egg hunt last year on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
It was held at a church other than my own, but it was free, and we needed to get out, and I thought it would be cool to socialize with other people who believe in Christ.

It was a quite a production, probably their biggest event of the year.
The women of the church had spent hours and hours boiling and coloring eggs for the hunt. They even gave away door prizes and tossed candy to the children as a grand finale.

But there was NO MENTION OF CHRIST. Not one.

Their hearts were in the right place, but in the excitement they skipped over the main event, the whole reason for the season...to celebrate Christ and his Atonement, and to bear testimony of him to our children.

We must be careful not to make the same mistake.

Here are a few ideas that I have found help keep Easter centered on Jesus Christ:

Create a Legacy of Faith with a Testimony Egg Hunt: This idea comes from my brilliant friend Marla who has been doing this with her family for a few years now. She gathers brief testimonies from extended family members and hides them inside plastic eggs. They read the testimonies together during Easter dinner.

Celebrate "Secular Saturday": In our house, the Easter Bunny visits us the Saturday before Easter Sunday. My mother dubbed this "Secular Saturday" (Get it, you've got Good Friday, then Secular Saturday, then Easter Sunday.) So, basically, all things secular (candy, egg hunts, baskets, etc.) happen the day before Easter, so that Sunday can be calm, restful, and focused on the Savior instead of having battles over whether or not the kids can bring their candy to church!

Last year, as you know, my family and I did The 12 Days of Easter, highlighting the key events from Christ's Atonement. Each child takes a turn opening one egg a day, leading up to Easter. Inside are small symbols of Christ's Atonement. Then we read corresponding scriptures.

Observe Holy Week: Some families use the week before Easter, also referred to as Holy Week, to discuss the events that happened during the last week of the Savior's life. I found some great ideas here, under "family devotions", for doing this as a family.

Gospel Art Kit Testimony Meeting: Take advantage of the Gospel Art Kit that the church distributes to tell the Easter story to children. One of the most spiritual experiences I can remember happened when I had to teach the Young Women lesson on Easter Sunday. I was suffering with morning sickness, so instead of doing all of the talking, I distributed pictures from the Gospel Art Kit that depicted the last week of Christ's life and his Atonement and Resurrection. I asked the girls to read the back, think about the picture, and then bear testimony about what the event means in their life. The girls bore powerful testimony with absolutely no preparation. It was a wonderful experience, and would certainly work well if you have slightly older children to hold a testimony meeting like this.

Sing Primary Songs about Christ: During the Young Women lesson that I just mentioned, I asked one of my Beehives to prepare to sing the Primary song "Did Jesus Really Live Again" for our lesson. Few of us will ever forget the beautiful way that she delivered her testimony through song. Singing these songs with our children, perhaps each night before scripture study or before bed will bring the spirit and teach them the simple truths of what Easter is about.

Easter is a great time to commune with people of other faiths. Our Easter traditions seem to be pretty simple compared to the traditions of other churches, but they too hold really nice, meaningful, enriching Easter services and celebrations. A few years ago, I was blessed to learn about a community of Boy Scouts who erected a huge cross on top of a hill in our area back in 1961 on the morning of Good Friday. The cross is visible for miles around. The scouts maintain the cross, and each year they hold an Easter service atop the hill. Then they fellowship with a pot luck lunch. I went up there once while interviewing the original scouts for a story that I wrote for a local magazine. This year I plan on being at the service as well. My favorite part about writing that story was hearing the testimonies of the men who put up the cross. I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Also check out my collection of 30 Christ-centered Easter Traditions & Crafts!

7 comments:

  1. timely post though Easter is next month. We'll be visiting my oldest son who no longer believes or teaches of Christ. His wife asked me to color Easter eggs with their son Hakan so I'm wondering how to make sense of it all for him without "preaching." Life is complicated.

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  2. I wanted to just tell you that in addition to talking about Christ's final week, I like to introduce items part of the Seder Dinner. Victor Ludlow did a Seder Dinner and a discussion on the last week of Christ's life at BYU for many years. As my kids get older, we'll do an entire dinner. Right now, I just bring in the herbs or some unleaven bread and such. http://www.christianseder.com/ is a good place to get some ideas. Although we don't need to be "ceremonial" in our remembrance of the life of the Savior, doing some of these things does help us get a "hands on" feel of what went on then. Thanks for your great ideas!

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  3. Thanks for sharing these ideas. We do a bunch of these, but the one we will for sure be adding this year will be the GAK testimony meeting.

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  4. You KNOW "brilliant" is a huge stretch...don't you?? HUGE? Maybe, not even true at all?

    Loved all the ideas tho'. ANd I'm with you...the Gospel Art Picture Kit is one of the best investments I've ever made in FHE etc.

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  5. Wow, such wonderful ideas!  A bit overwhelming, but I hope I can at least start with one idea and help my family be centered around Christ!

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  6. Don't get overwhelmed!! :)  Just pick something that easily fits into your lifestyle and go with it! :)  There are quite a few ideas that really don't require much!!!

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  7. thanks for more ideas! these are great! one thing we tried was a "spring basket" on the first day of spring and no basket on Easter so we were able to keep focused. our kids didn't mind the change at all.

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