As a kid, Easter usually meant a new dress for church, and maybe just maybe, an Easter egg hunt with candy. Childhood traditions become childhood memories, until you become a parent. Then suddenly you find yourself faced with the decision to create theses traditions for your children. What do you want it to look like? What does the holiday mean and how will you teach them it’s meaning? How do cultural norms influence our traditions?
I’m sure many of you have already defined what Easter will look like for your family. Last year, instead of baskets full of stuff that I end up throwing away, I gave each of my kids a surprise. It was something that each of them wanted, but wasn’t expecting. Just as Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and were surprised that the tomb was empty, my little preschoolers were met Easter morning with a surprise. It was the perfect way to begin celebrating His resurrection with my preschoolers.
This year feels different. I found myself collecting little surprises here and there (some of which they need anyway). Then Boothe’s post reminded me of how giving a basket of goodies is a picture of God’s overflowing love for us. I had decided that a basket of little surprises would be a great way to demonstrate the meaning of Easter to my kids.
I went shopping the other night and found a few things to finish off our Easter baskets. I got home and arranged the contents of each kid’s basket and was pleased with my efforts. The next morning, we were continuing our discussion of Holy Week. Then my daughter, Savannah says, “I have a good idea, we should take candy to all of our neighbors.” She explained that Easter was all about God’s love and that we should share it with our neighbors. Suddenly I found myself being schooled by my 5 year old. Here I’ve been focusing on clothes and gifts for my own kids, and my daughter is only thinking about how we can show our neighbors that God loves them.
I decided that this was a learning opportunity for us all. I could have left it as just a good idea, but then we would have forgotten it. So we loaded up and headed to the store. They each chose two bags of candy. I purchased some spring treat bags, and then we made distributing the candy into the bags a great sorting activity. Savannah wanted to also include a card with each one. So we began making and decorating cards for each one. I explained that I would print out the wording that we could glue to each card, but that it would be her words. This is what she wanted it to say-
You are the best! Happy Easter!
Love, Savannah, Caleb, and Daniel
HE IS RISEN!
The treat bags are assembled and the cards are almost done. Before we head out to our Good Friday service, the kids and I will be going door to door, passing out treat bags. It will probably seem odd to most of our neighbors, but the message it will communicate to my kids will be priceless.
At first I questioned the choice of words “You are the best!” for people that we don’t really know, but then I realized that those words are what Jesus really wants each of us to hear, even if it comes from a 5 year old stranger. Today we all need to be reminded that, “You are the best!” It is the reason why God sent His only son to die for us.
What do Easter celebrations look like in your home? How do you teach your kids about the meaning of Easter? What traditions do you have that you love?