Friends, it finally dawned on our kids last weekend that we would not be able to go to church this Sunday.
“Wait, you mean we’ll be stuck at home on EASTER SUNDAY?? Mom, it won’t be Easter if we’re not at church! That’s never happened before! This is not okay. We have to do something…”
If you know me well, you can imagine how excited I was about seizing this teachable moment. My girls say I have a “small group leader voice” that I use in moments like this… umm, whatever. But if I do, I’m sure I pulled it out for this one!
“Well, guys,” I said (probably in my SGL voice), “that’s not exactly true. What are we really celebrating on Easter? Think back to what happened that first Easter morning…”
- Where do we find the disciples? (hint: They weren’t at the temple, where they?)
- Where do we find Mary? (hint again: Sshh! She wasn’t at the temple either.)
- And where do we find Jesus? (okay, so they got the point!)
The reality is we have never had a better opportunity to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus more authentically than this year. After all, the first Easter happened outside in a garden and inside a living room and wherever else people happened to be when they heard the good news. The life-changing news.
“I have seen the Lord!”
Do you remember what it was like the first time you saw the Lord?
I mean, when you truly realized what Jesus had done for you- that He loved you enough to die for you, suffered unspeakable pain and loss for you- and not because you and I were worthy, but because we are worth it to Him?
I was a teenager when someone shared with me that I wasn’t here by accident; that God created me and loved me and had a purpose for my life. For the first time I began to understand how much Jesus willingly went through for me and what it cost Him. It still overwhelms me to think anyone could love me that much!
And then I found out the rest of the story… He is alive! He rose from the dead, appeared to a bunch of people, and went up to heaven, leaving His Holy Spirit here to live within us and guide us. Wow.
He didn’t just love us in the past, but He loves us now, and He wants to love us forever!
That’s pretty good news! And it changed me.
Friends, have you seen the Lord? I mean, really seen Him? Have you seen Him working in your life, changing your heart, guiding you in wisdom, transforming your perspective, bringing beauty from ashes? When you do, it changes everything.
He changes everything.
So this Easter, as we gather in our homes with our children, let’s make the most of this opportunity to tell them the Good news. Let’s not just read them a story from a Book (although we should!), but also share the truth of a God who is alive today, who loves them unconditionally and is active in their life. Let’s help them connect the dots between His story and their story, so they too can tell others, “ I have seen the Lord!”
In case you’re looking for some ideas, here are a few things the Heath Fam is planning to do over the next few days to celebrate Easter and Holy Week at home:
(Btw, you should know I always have A LOT of ideas… and we usually only do about 20% of them! But I figure 20% is better than 0%, right? #winning)
- Talk about what was important enough for Jesus to do and say in His last week of life.
- Thursday morning: Read/discuss how Jesus washed the disciples feet (John 13:3-17) and think of ways our family can serve others, then do it- make cards, give to the Food Pantry, etc.
- Thursday evening: Remember why they were celebrating Passover Feast (read about Moses and the plagues from a Children’s Bible or watch The Prince of Egypt) and make the connection between Passover & Easter, then read Mark 14:12-26 and take Holy Communion together. Maybe take the kids outside to pray, as Jesus did, for God’s Will to be done here on earth, even when it comes at great cost to us.
- Friday evening: Recount the events following the Last Supper leading up to Jesus’ death. Maybe watch a reenactment from a Jesus movie? We are hoping to do an informal Good Friday service with our kids using readings from the events preceding the crucifixion and Jesus’ last words from the cross. If we do, I’ll try to video it and share it on Facebook in case it’s helpful to some of you. *Editing to add a link to an on-line Good Friday Service with Chris Tomlin and Max Lucado!
- Saturday: Discuss how sometimes God is silent and it feels like He’s not working, but it’s only because we can’t see what is happening behind the scenes…
- Sunday: Time to celebrate!! Lots of ideas:
- Wake the kids up with some jammin’ praise music!
- Read about that first Easter morning when Jesus appeared to His friends.
- Worship online with our church family (First Redeemer) and… possibly have a cul-de-sac worship service with everyone in their own driveways.
- For littles, use Resurrection Eggs or make resurrection rolls.
- Download The Chosen series and/or watch the Jesus movie from Sights & Sounds theatre.
Your celebration can be simple or extravagant; do whatever works for your family. And feel free to share more ideas in the comments! But don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate Easter like never before. Oh wait…