Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Bunny, Easter Bunny

Easter's just days away and my Easter bunny anxiety is mounting quickly! I haven't given the Easter bunny nearly as much thought as I did with Santa , but that's because - quite frankly - Easter seems like the no-brainer holiday to me.

In our home, we want Easter to be about Jesus. No question about that. And while there isn't quite the same pressure with Easter as there is with Christmas, there are still some ways the world can sneak into our Easter festivities. I don't want to get to next Monday and feel like I missed Easter because I got caught up in all the hoopla. I want to get to next Monday and feel refreshed and renewed because we've spent extra time focusing on Christ. 

Now, to be honest, I had a lot of great ideas about celebrating Easter with Maleah - I wanted to do more little arts and crafts over the weeks leading up to holy week. But, in case you've missed it, I'm pregnant and as they say "ain't nobody got time for a whole bunch of arts and crafts when you're pregnant". Also Blake and I participated in our church's Easter play this past weekend which was part of how I have prepared myself for Easter. But we haven't done quite as much as a family as I wanted to. But that's just me having these lofty ideas of what life's "supposed" to look like... and... as we all know, it's not picture perfect. 

But this week is critical - it's Holy Week! And I really want to hone in on the real meaning of Easter with Maleah this week. So... here's how we're going to be celebrating in our family. 

Holy Week - So, I grew up Methodist and we are all about the liturgy and tradition. Holy Week was a big deal. You start with Palm Sunday, Holy Monday-Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Simply put, each day you kinda put yourself in that last week of Christ's life on earth and remember what was happening leading up to the cross. 

While I am not sure our family will get to do all of these things, here are some ideas I've had on how we can celebrate Holy Week with a toddler: 

Palm Sunday - Before church, I talked with Maleah about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and how excited everyone was to see him. Our church gave each child a palm branch during Sunday school (and let me tell you, Maleah was ALL ABOUT her palm branch!!!). So all day Sunday we talked about shouting "Hosanna!" to Jesus. 

Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday & Holy Wednesday - We will be reading Bible stories from Jesus' teachings. We might do a couple of art activities or watch a cartoon on the Easter story. 

Maundy Thursday - This is the day we remember the Last Supper, but communion is not usually taken. Many churches observe this day by having a feet washing ceremony. We will read the story of the Last Supper with Maleah and maybe we'll do some feet washing of our own!

Good Friday - Of course, this is the day we remember the the crucifixion of Christ and the events leading up to it. I am planning to do a simple little art activity with her where she finger paints an empty cross using lots of colors, to represent all the people Christ saved when he died on the cross. 

Holy Saturday - This is typically a day of mourning. We will cover the cross we made Friday night with a black piece of paper or fabric and talk about how sad everyone was that Jesus had died. The people did not understand what was happening and they thought Jesus was gone forever. If we have some time, we may even make a tomb using a shoe box and some construction paper. We will also totally be dying Easter eggs!!! Come on, that's just fun!

Easter Sunday - OF COURSE we will be celebrating the resurrection! Early in the morning we will see that the black veil on our cross has been lifted and talk about how Jesus is Alive! {I know a lot of people do the Resurrection cookies - I had thought about doing those this year, but Blake will actually be out of town Friday & Saturday, so I don't want to overwhelm myself with "to do's" - again, this is not about cute activities... but activities that help us focus on Christ!} If she and I do make our little shoebox tomb, I will move the "stone" (the lid) away so she can see the tomb is "empty"! We will go to church and then celebrate spending time with our family in the country!!! My aunt Tammy always hosts a really fun Easter afternoon!

Of course there are TONS of ways you can celebrate this week with your family. Despite the fact that I should've posted this like two weeks ago, it's not too late to pull together some family-friendly moments to intentionally focus on the Gospel during this amazing week!!! 

Oh... and what about that Easter Bunny fella? Well, I haven't forgotten about him. But I'll make this short & sweet - EB is just like Santa at our house. He's totally fun and we talk about him and have waved at him at the mall. But we are trying not to make him a big deal. We don't really talk about what the Easter Bunny is going to bring. Getting stuff for Easter was never a big deal in my house - some years the Easter Bunny even forgot about me! :) But I do enjoy getting Maleah a few things that remind her of the meaning of Easter as well as some things we can all do as a family. 

What Will the Easter Bunny Bring? If you're looking for ideas on a toddler Easter basket, well... I might not be the right person for you to ask! I have tried to keep her baskets simple - some Bible books (I try not to do Easter books because I like to have those out in the weeks leading up to Easter), music (this year she is getting 2 Bible songs CDs and a Veggie Tale movie), and some outdoor things (sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and a little plant). We aren't really giving her candy because we are still feasting on our treats from Halloween & Valentine's Day!

Easter clothes - Easter is the one time of year that I like to buy a special dress for Maleah. Blake reminds me that new Easter clothes was totally a marketing ploy from Macy's, but whatever! :) I do like to get her a special dress to wear for Easter Sunday. To me, it is part of the excitement of celebrating the newness - and it reminds us that Easter is a very special day. I know that's very worldly of me, but it's special to me! Blake and I, however, just try to wear something we haven't worn in a while..... hehe!

Romans 5:8 - I like to try to teach Maleah Bible verses so this week we are going to be repeating this one a lot "...while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

How are you planning to celebrate Easter with your family? Whatever you do, I hope this week draws you nearer to Christ and nearer to your family!

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