Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Prelude to Easter

I was listening to K-LOVE this morning on my way to work.  Max Lucado was the guest, and they were talking about Easter--and the meanings of Good Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Yes, I know the story.  Growing up in church 3x a week, most of us can recite it.  But do we really, really, truly understand the impact of this holiday and the importance of this weekend?  Is it REAL to you?  Or do you go through the motions as I have all these years?

What an awesome holiday Good Friday is!  And it seems to get lost in the mix...and it's a day off work that is probably not understood by many. It is a somber day, but the most important day for us as christians...it is the base of our beliefs! Jesus DIED for US on that day! He DIED for my petty sins! He DIED for your petty sins!  As this reality hit me this morning, I cried all the way to work.

But then on the 3rd day He rose!  You can't tell the Easter story without talking about the Resurrection.  But you can't talk about the Resurrection without talking about the death on the cross.

As I cried, I remembered my first blog post last year.  Last year for me, Easter was not a celebration. It was a hectic schedule of pictures, easter egg hunts, shopping for easter clothes, and cooking dishes to take to both my parents and in-law easter dinners...And oh yeah, church. 

Last year I vowed it would not be like that again, and that I would slow down, and really teach and respect what the holiday is all about. So this morning, I sit here pondering. How do you teach the meaning of Easter and Good Friday to a 3 year old?? 

Of course I had to do a google search...there were some cute ideas on how to communicate Good Friday and Easter to a toddler...I especially like these 2 ideas. So I thought I would share. I shared them with my MOPs group via email this morning.  I also asked how they teach this lesson to their little ones...??

(I'm a little late on this idea...but I still have some time)
Make Resurrection Eggs

You can buy sets of resurrection eggs or you can make your own. To make your own, label 12 plastic eggs with the numbers 1-12 and fill them as below:

Egg 1 – a piece of fur to represent the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem

Egg 2 – a cracker symbolizing the Last Supper

Egg 3 – a piece of soap, symbolizing Jesus washing the disciples’ feet

Egg 4 – three dimes to symbolize the 30 pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus

Egg 5 – a feather to represent the rooster that crowed three times

Egg 6 – a thorn, symbolizing the crown of thorns that was put on Jesus’ head

Egg 7 – a die to symbolize the lots that were cast for Jesus’ clothing

Egg 8 – a small wooden cross or a nail to represent Jesus’ death on the cross

Egg 9 – a piece of black paper to symbolize the darkness that covered the earth

Egg 10 – a piece of cloth to symbolize the cloth in which Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body

Egg 11 – a rock to symbolize the stone that sealed Jesus’ tomb

Egg 12 – Leave this egg empty to symbolize Jesus’ resurrection

You can open one egg a day for the 12 days before Easter It is extra meaningful if you can open Egg 11 on Good Friday and Egg 12 on Easter. As you open the eggs, talk about what each item represents.

Clean pennies

Your children may have difficulties understanding that Jesus died for their sins. First of all, you may need to explain to them that sin is anything we do that keeps us from being friends with God. Bring out some grimy pennies and tell them the dirt on the pennies represents their sin. Then mix ¼ cup of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Put the pennies in the vinegar mixture for about five minutes. They will come out shiny and clean! Explain that Jesus makes us shiny and clean too.

I'd love to hear your ideas, too!

Have a blessed weekend! And I pray that you will slow down and focus on the Reason for this Easter season!

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