Let’s Celebrate Our Independence

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 
John 8:36

Another holiday is another opportunity to teach your children.  Try to always have a centerpiece that represents the holiday so you can be reminded to talk about it at meal times.

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While we may not agree with everything happening in our country right now, we still need to celebrate with our children the fact God has allowed us to live in a free country and that many brave soldiers have fought physical and spiritual battles to ensure we have freedom.

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Keeping Jesus in Easter – Easter Basket

 Easter

. . . the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

(History and Helps for Enjoying Easter Traditions While Teaching Eternal Truths)

Easter occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following Spring Equinox.  In ancient days, this first moon was a sign to farmers to make sure they planted the first seeds of the season as the cold winter was over and daylight was longer.  Middle Eastern cultures, such as the Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians and Babylonians, had spring traditions of celebrating the first seedlings of their new crops. They brought them in baskets to temples for a blessing that their gods would continue to bless the crops for the rest of the year.

To Christians, Easter represents the resurrection of Christ. Lent is the season that proceeds Easter and lasts for forty days. During the Lent season, it is expected to give up something such as meat, dairy, eggs, or whatever.. The custom of having a large Easter supper represents the end of the fast. The food was brought to the church in large baskets, thus the connection to treats in Easter baskets today.

The Easter grass comes from the tradition of Dutch children waiting for the delivery of eggs on Easter Sunday. They would keep these eggs in ‘bird nests’ of grass.

  • Easter basket is woven together like the crown of thorns
  • Easter grass is like hay in the manger for baby Jesus
  • Bag of gold or silver covered chocolate coins represent the betrayal of Jesus by Judas
  • Chocolate rooster is a reminder of Peter’s three denials of Jesus
  • One hollow plastic eggs that is empty to represent the empty tomb
  • Marshmallow chicks, bunnies remind us of new life and new birth
  • And always put a cross in the basket.  It can be a chocolate one or possibly one you have made together.  Put the cross in the basket each year with the new gifts to be a reminder of the greatest Gift of all and the amazing Reason we celebrate!! 

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(colored egg shells glued on cardboard cross)  

 Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 11.24.49 PM
 (two sticks wrapped together with yarn)

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Keeping Jesus in Easter – Hiding Eggs

easter_egg_hunt[1]

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. 
Matthew 28:6 

(History and Helps for Enjoying Easter Traditions While Teaching Eternal Truths)

The history of hiding eggs goes back to possibly when the Pagans used eggs in their Spring celebrations. After early Christian influence, the Pagans hid their eggs to avoid persecution.  Another possible reason for hiding eggs is because they were forbidden during Lent, so symbolically they were hidden and found at the end of Lent.

Easter Egg Hunting began in America in the 1700’s when German immigrants brought with them their Osterhase tradition (Easter hare who laid eggs for children to find).

Before you hide the eggs this year, share with your children what we share when we do our Christmas web  that the true meaning of the holiday gets hidden in the activities of the season and we need to hunt for the true meaning – that Jesus died for us and is risen from the dead.  

Christians consider eggs to be ‘the seed of life’ and so they are symbolic of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The egg also might represent the stone that was rolled away from the tomb where Christ was hidden, revealing his Resurrection. And the hunting could be related to the fact that on Sunday morning after the crucifixion, two ladies went to the tomb looking for Jesus’ body, but He wasn’t there.  The angel told the ladies: He is not here; he is risen .  

Put Bible verses in some of the eggs you hide and then gather together to read them all after they are found.  Some suggested verses are:

  • Revelation 21:5  Jesus makes all things new.
  • Galatians 2:20  Jesus Christ lives.
  • Matthew 28:6  Jesus is risen.
  • Song of Solomon 2:12  The flowers appear on the earth.
  • Song of Solomon 2:12 The time of the singing of birds has come
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1 God made everything beautiful
  • Psalm 103:5 God satisfies my mouth with good things.

Make one egg empty like the tomb and give a prize for the one who finds that egg which represents the true message of Easter that Jesus is alive!

As you are outside hunting eggs, notice the signs of spring and repeat the Bible verses above that apply.  Enjoy God’s beautiful world together.

Make Resurrection Rolls with your children – hide marshmallows in crescent rolls and when they are baked, the rolls are empty on the inside, just as the tomb was empty when the ladies went looking for Jesus

.Resurrection Rolls

Have fun singing Hooray from “Every Song a Bible Story” (Maranatha Music).  This is a happy song about the empty tomb that children really love. 

Click on this resource  A Sense of the Resurrection for 12 simple activities to help you celebrate the Resurrection 

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Keeping Jesus in Easter – Easter Bunny

Bunny_in_a_hole_by_cuzvans8er

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Cor. 15:3-4

(History and Helps for Enjoying Easter Traditions While Teaching Eternal Truths)

In the 13th century hares and rabbits were symbols of fertility because they reproduce so rapidly. Rabbits were the sacred animal of Eostre, the Anglo Saxon goddess of Spring and fertility.

Germany appears to be responsible for including the hare in Easter customs.  They told tales of the Easter hare, Osterhase, who laid eggs for children to find.  They also baked cakes for Easter in the shape of hares, and we may have them to thank for making the chocolate bunnies and eggs.

A possible reason for the link between the rabbit and the egg comes from the Pagans associating the rabbit with the moon and the egg with the sun.  Easter comes during the spring equinox when day and night are the same length, thus the rabbit and the egg are together.

You can use the bunny as a reminder of the Resurrection.  The bunny stays underground much of the winter and comes out in spring.  And, as the scripture above states, Jesus was in the tomb 3 days and then came out of the tomb alive!

A great book to teach the real meaning of Easter is Easter Bunny, Are You For Real?

Even though the Easter Bunny has nothing to do with Jesus other than the fact that Jesus made bunnies, it can still be just good fun at Easter. And Easter should be a fun, happy time as we celebrate the greatest event in history!!!

1 Timothy 6:17 tells us God gives us all things to enjoy.  So enjoy the chocolate bunnies and eggs 🙂

Now, just for fun, watch these Easter Bunny videos clips made by our sons.

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Keeping Jesus in Easter – Coloring Eggs

Easter 2006 007

Jesus makes all things new.
Revelation 21:5

(Easter is the time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, but this message can get lost in the traditional Easter activities or the coming of Spring.  We can use these tangible things to help children understand intangible ideas.)

Eggs have been recognized in most ages and cultures as a symbol of new life.  This caused ancient Rome, Egypt, and Persia to use eggs in celebration of Spring when new life appears on the earth.

Another reason for eggs being special at Spring is because after a long winter food was scare and a fresh egg was a treat.  A reason for boiling the eggs could be because in Medieval Europe, eggs were not eaten during Lent and fresh eggs were boiled or preserved in some manor until it was permissible to eat them.

Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ.  King Edward I of England had eggs gold leafed or colored as Easter gifts.   In Armenia, hollow eggs were created by piercing the ends with a pin and blowing out the egg. They were then decorated with pictures of Christ and the Virgin Mary.  The most elaborate decorating was in Poland and Ukraine.  This is where the writing on the egg with a wax crayon before coloring it began.  It is called pysanky.

Share with your children these possible reasons behind the coloring of eggs.  Relate it all to the Bible verse above – Jesus makes all things new. 

The eggs remind of us of new life like new chicks, birds, and ducks that come from eggs. Talk about the new life we have when we become a Christian. Point out that before coloring, all the eggs look the same, but after coloring, the eggs are all different and unique just like our lives are with Jesus. 

The coloring reminds us of how beautiful the world is as it comes back to life after the winter as new flowers, leaves, and grass appear on the earth. You can talk of how this is a reminder of Jesus coming back to life on that historical Easter morning over 2000 years ago.

Each color can be used to talk about Jesus:

  • Red is for the blood Jesus shed on the cross for us
  • Green is for the grass and trees He made
  • Blue is for the sky and water He made
  • Yellow is for the sun that shines brightly
  • Orange and pink are for the flowers that are blooming 
  • White is for His cleansing us from all our sins by His taking the punishment for us on the cross
  • Purple is a color for kings and Jesus is the King of kings 

Make coloring eggs a family time.  Don’t worry about the mess; allow everyone to be creative as you relate this activity to the new life we have in Christ!!!

Easter 2006 002

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