Some of my favorite memories growing up were of Easter Sunday. It could have been because of the new dress (and matching hat!) I got for the occasion. Whatever the reason, Easter, in my mind has always represented Spring, family photos, egg hunts, smiling faces and full churches.
This year, it will be different.
And while for a lot of us, different is hard, it doesn’t mean different has to be bad. In fact, with all this time at home, I am more committed than ever to making Easter a meaningful experience for my family. No Easter hats this year. Actually, if we get out of our pajamas, we’re going to call it a win. But below are a couple of ways we are trying to make Easter memorable.
- A couple of weeks ago, I sent out in my newsletter a PDF download of a 40-day Lent devotional for kids. You can still download it straight from my blog, here. As we make our way through Holy Week, take a few minutes and read along with your kids about the time leading up to Easter Sunday.
- The company I have worked for (and LOVED) for 12 years, Orange, created a family Easter event available here to download for free. Orange exists to partner churches and families together in the development of the faith of the next generation. In creating this Easter family event, Orange did what it has always done, but has done exceptionally well in the last few weeks—empowered families to build into the faith of the people we share a roof with. I am not kidding you when I tell you I work with some of the most talented people around. Here’s proof. If you are looking for a way for kids of ALL ages to celebrate Easter together as family, download Easter Jam and prepare to have a blast.
- Finally, I’ve always been a big believer than in order to celebrate Easter big, we need to be willing to sit in the sadness and pain of the Last Supper and Good Friday. These are not traditionally kid friendly days. But I think remembering the Last Supper especially can create a powerful moment for our kids. That’s why I created a Last Supper family experience. Below you will find content for a short devotional to read with your kids, instructions on questions to ask, discussion to lead and a prayer to pray at the end as you all share some bread and juice together.
Easter 2020 will be one we won’t soon forget. It will be atypical and a break from the norm and it’s causing us to be more flexible than we ever had before. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun together, have meaningful moments together and celebrate the best news on Earth. The grave is empty and Jesus is alive!
Family Last Supper Experience
Isn’t it funny how food is connected to our memories? [As a family, share what foods are connected to special memories you have together.] When I eat crab dip, I think of the beach. When I eat popcorn, I think of movie nights. When I eat buffalo chicken dip, I think of football games. And when I drink hot chocolate I think of snowy days.
The night before Jesus was arrested, they were celebrating a holiday that had it’s own kind of food memory attached to it. Jesus and the disciples were in a room together in a house in the city of Jerusalem. They were there to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover was the holiday that reminded the Jewish people about how Moses had led their ancestors, who were slaves in Egypt, to freedom. The meal celebrated how God had kept them safe.
As part of the Passover celebration, people would eat bread and drink wine. But this night, in this room, Jesus decided to celebrate a different way. Jesus took the loaf of bread and broke it in half. And then He looked at the disciples and instead of talking about Passover, said the bread was like His body, which would be broken for them. Then Jesus took the wine and He drank it, and then passed the cup around for the rest of the disciples to drink, telling them, this wine was like His blood, spilled for them.
If you’re confused, don’t worry. The disciples were confused too. The Passover holiday had been celebrated a certain way for thousands of years, and now Jesus was changing everything. Not only that, the things He was saying, like that His body was going to be broken and His blood was going to spilled, would have been scary to hear.
See, the disciples believed Jesus would be a king, be powerful and be in charge. They expected Him to be a mighty ruler. Just a couple of days earlier, Jesus had come into Jerusalem riding a donkey while the people waved palm branches at Him, treating Him like their new leader! But this night, Jesus was talking about Himself being hurt and in pain. He didn’t sound powerful at all. The disciples had no idea that in just a few hours Jesus would be on the cross, dying. Not the picture of a powerful king. But the picture of perfect love. So, you can imagine how strange Jesus’ words and actions would have felt to them.
Now, after Jesus said what He did, and broke the bread and drank the wine, Jesus looked at each of the people sitting around Him and said something no one expected: “When you eat and when you drink, remember me.”
Jesus wanted the disciples to have a food memory with Him, just like we do with certain things. He wanted to make sure whenever the disciples ate this bread or drank that wine, that Jesus would be the first person to come to their mind.
What do you think Jesus wanted them to remember about him?
When you remember Jesus, what do you think about?
I think about:
How much He loves us.
How He wanted to make sure we knew how much God loves us.
How He served others.
How He was friends with everyone.
How He put other people first.
Jesus lived such a loving life, that when people remembered him, that’s what they remembered. How much he loved.
In fact, at this same meal, Jesus told His disciples that the way they loved each other would be how people would know they were followers of His.
When Jesus left, after He died and came back to life and then went back up to Heaven to be with God, all of Jesus’ followers—the old disciples and all the new ones who believed Jesus after He was gone— would have bread and drink wine and remember Jesus together. I bet they shared stories of what Jesus said and did. I bet they laughed together remembering some of the fun they had. I bet sometimes they cried because they missed Him. But every time, when they had the bread and they had the wine, they remembered Jesus.
There’s something else Jesus said at this famous meal the night before He was arrested. He told the disciples that He wouldn’t eat this meal again until everyone was all together again. Meaning, the disciples would eat bread and drink wine and remember Jesus, and we would eat and drink and remember Jesus, but Jesus, up in heaven isn’t eating bread or drinking wine. Why? Because He wants us all to be together again first.
And when we are all in heaven together, that’s what He’ll do. And we’ll join Him. It will be a fantastic feast, a huge party, a celebration like we have never known. It will be perfect!!
But until then, we eat and drink here to remember was Jesus was like, and to look forward to being with Him and doing it together there in the future.
[Remembering things together as a family brings us closer together. Share some of your favorite family memories from the past couple of weeks—the good, the bad, the funny. Share some of your favorite memories from vacations in years past or experiences you had together.
Now spend some times remembering some of your favorite stories about Jesus. What things about Him that you have learned from the stories we have read about Him do you love the most? Share the thing you are looking forward to the most when we are all together in Heaven celebrating this meal. Then, have a parent take some bread and juice and pass it around to everyone in the family. Once everyone has their bread and their juice say, “We eat this bread and we drink this juice to remember who Jesus is, and what Jesus did.” (And then pray) “Thank you, Jesus for showing us exactly what God was like. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for being with us all the time. Thank you for giving us something we can do to remember who you are and what you did. Help us to love each other like you loved us. Amen.”]