Make Easter meaningful for your family this year by celebrating it for an entire week, all the while focusing on the true meaning of Easter.
The Holiday Spot gives a brief overview of the different religious days celebrated throughout the world in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Click Here to see that.
Christianity Today has a wonderful week of Easter Activities that you can enjoy with the entire family as well. Click HERE to see.
One of my favorite resources over the years has been this book.
In it you will find all the scriptures in the first four gospels dealing with Jesus' life during his final week. Activities for the entire family and even recipes for Passover.
Here are some of the activities our family plans on doing this year.
Palm Sunday - Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
Scriptures: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-36
Our family tries to take an walk (weather permitting) and find different items that remind us of the Easter week. Palm fronds to remind us of his triumphal entry, thorns – his crown of thorns he was forced to wear, etc.
The younger kids can make these out of green construction paper. Click HERE to see instructions.
Monday – Cleansing the Temple
Scriptures: Matthew 12:12-18, Mark 11:12-19, and Luke 19:45-48. We always throw in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 as well.
We also try to go over the story of Easter with Eggs.
An Ordinary Mom has a great post HERE. She gives scriptures and associated small items that will fill 12 eggs and tell the story of Easter. She also links you to several other places that give similar variations of the Easter Story told with eggs.
Tuesday & Wednesday – Parables and Teachings
Scriptures: Matthew 12:19-26:16, Mark 11:20-14:11, Luke 20:1-22:6, and finally John 12:37-50. Our family spreads these scriptures over Tuesday and Wednesday because nothing is mentioned on Wednesday in the scriptures.
Often I do hands-on activities with my kids as we discuss the parables. For example we make miniature lamps out of clay when discussing the parable of the ten virgins. Practice our talents after discussing the parable of the talents or perform an act of service after reading about the widow’s mite.
Possibly you could purchase for your family 30 pieces of foil covered chocolate coins and talk about how Judas betrayed the Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
An Arizona company can even personalizes foil coins for you HERE.
Thursday – Passover, The Last Supper and Agony in Gethsemane
Scriptures: Matthew 26:17-75, Ma rk 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-65, and John 13:1-18:27.
As a family you can participate in traditional Jewish tradition of cleaning your home in preparation for the Seder feast.
There are many websites describing the ritual of the passover feast. Here are a couple of them.
Our family has a simple meal that consists of the following:
Zeroa (Lamb Shankbone) Symbolic of the Pascal Lamb and the Savior’s atonement.
Matzah (Unleavened Bread) – you can purchase some from your local grocery store or try this recipe here.
Combine 3 cups flour or Matzah meal, 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add enough water to make dough pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is tacky add a bit more flour. Separate your dough into 2-3 portions and roll each portion out similar to how you would a pie crust. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Prick the dough a few times lightly with a fork. Bake immediately until browned, flipping once. Slide the bread rounds onto a towel or rack to cool. Can be made several days before Passover and stored in an airtight container.
Symbolic of Israel’s swift escape from Egypt. Because their flight was so sudden there was not time to wait for the bread to rise, and it had to be baked while still flat.
Haroset (Fruit and Nut Mixture)
1/2 cup almonds (chopped or ground) depending on whether you like a chunky Haroset or a more mushy one.
1/2 large finely chopped apple
3 TB grape juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, shaved or powdered.
About 1/8 to 1/4 cup each of Dried apricots, figs, and dates, finely chopped (Optional)
1/4 cup Finely chopped Walnuts or pecans. (Optional)
Sesame seeds, toasted (Optional)
Pinch of ginger, ground (Optional)
Mix together nuts, apple, cinnamon and grape juice. Slowly add one or more of the optional ingredients. I like to chop by hand the ingredients. If you like Haroset with a smoother consistency then process the ingredients in a food processor.
Haroset is symbolic of the building materials used by the Israelite’s while slaves to the Egyptians. The apple and nuts represent the clay, shaved cinnamon shavings represent the straw for the mortar, and grape juice or wine represents their blood that was shed. The sweetness of the dish represents hope for their future.
Beitzah (Roasted Egg) – Place an eggs in a cake pan in the cool oven. Make sure your eggs are free from cracks. Roast your eggs for 1 and 1/2 hours at 200 degrees. Then turn up the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to cook for yet another 1/2 hour. Your eggs are done when small brown dots appear on the shell. Remove the eggs from the oven and cool. Then refrigerate until ready to eat.
The Beitzah is symbolic of the offerings the Israelites sacrificed at the temple during the three Feasts that were held directly before the Temple’s destructions. It is also a symbol of the temple itself.
Maror (Bitter Herb) – We use small romaine lettuce leaves here because they are easier to dip in the Haroset than pureed horseradish is.
Symbolic of the suffering of the Children of Israel under the hands of their oppressive Egyptian taskmasters.
Friday – Good Friday, Jesus Trial and Crucifixion
Scriptures: Matthew 27:1-61, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:66-23-23:56, and John 18:28-19:42.
Kim shares with us a wonderful way to tell the Easter story to your children while baking Easter Cookies. Click HERE to see the recipe. I plan on trying this one this year.
You could also craft a crown of thorns using thorny branches found in your local area. Rose bush, honey locust tree, etc. Remember to wear sturdy gloves. OR you could purchase a wreath from a local craft store and glue toothpicks out from it. Like Just Another Day in Paradise did Here.
Turn out your lights for three hours during the evening to signify the three hours that darkness that came when Christ was crucified.
Saturday – The Jewish Sabbath
Scriptures: Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 23:56
Eat a Jerusalem Dinner.
We eat this dinner every April 6th which is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s also wonderful to prepare at Christmas time.
We try and eat this dinner as they would have back then. Sitting on mats of the floor and eating out of a common bowl with mainly our fingers. Candlelight also helps add to the atmosphere. We eat foods mentioned in the Bible as as we eat them we discuss the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Extra bonus if you dress in costume. We serve the food in wooden bowls and baskets.
MENU & SCRIPTURES
Water (John 4:6-15) The woman of the well
Butter and Milk (Gen 18:8) he took butter and milk
Honey (Ex. 3:8) land flowing with milk and honey
Bread – Served in baskets (Matthew 14:17 & John 6:32)-Five loaves and two fishes
Unleavened Bread (Mark 14:22) The Last Supper Jesus’ body is represented by bread in the Sacrament
Corn on the Cob (Luke 6:1) Disciples eating on the Sabbath
Fish (Broiled Luke24:4 -Matthew 14:17)-Five loaves and two fishes & (Matthew 4:19)-I will make you fishers of men
Grapes (Revelations 14:18) her grapes are fully ripe
Honey- we drizzle this on the bread (Matt 3:4) John the Baptist’s diet.
& Locusts (chocolate covered raisins)
Grape Juice -Represents Wine (John 2:7-11) Miracle of Water to Wine – was the beginning of Jesus’s miracles.
Salt (Matt 5:13) Ye are the salt of the earth
Mustard seasoning (Mark 4:31) kingdom of heaven is like mustard seed
Olives (Roman 11:17) or
For those who don’t like fish then I know this one is a stretch but:
Chicken (Matt 23:37) Even as a hen gathereth her chicks
We pass the items around the table one at a time and we talk about stories of Jesus or read the scriptures that apply to the food.
Scriptures: Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-12, Luke 24:1-49 and John 20:1-23
We love to eat our Breakfast Easter rolls (recipe HERE) and listen to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Messiah.
Along with a traditional Easter Dinner find a quiet time as a family to review the week and talk about how you can honor him now.
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christ-Centered Easter this year. What are some of the ways you keep Easter?