I Want a Christ-centered Easter That’s Even More Exciting Than Christmas!

A few years ago I caught the vision of making Easter even more special than Christmas. After all, Jesus’ death and resurrection is the highlight and culmination of everything that Christianity is about. Why should we get all excited about Jesus’ birth and entrance into this world as a little baby and then yawn about the fulfillment of His life’s mission and purpose, not to mention what that sacrifice and offering accomplished for us?

Since that time, I have attempted to make Easter extra special for my family. I bought new Bibles for each child the first year. I got versions for them that would make it easier for each of them to read the Bible themselves. Since then, I have alternated between getting new Bibles, getting Veggie Tales dvd’s, other Christian dvd’s, anything that comes to my attention (by the Spirit’s leading) that seems like it would go along with the message of the life of Christ and His death and resurrection. I put candy in their Easter baskets, too. They get very excited about Easter now.

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We sometimes do some observance of Lent. We are not Catholic, but we do believe in fasting and self-examination and preparing our hearts for celebrating Jesus’ life and death.
So I’m incorporating some things that have struck my fancy this year as a way to prepare the hearts of my younger children and get their focus off of the candy and onto the real meaning of Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus. I wrote about them in this post.

Jesus Storybook

Genny at In Lieu of Preschool wrote a post about Preparing Preschoolers for Easter. She wrote out a reading plan for The Jesus Storybook Bible so that you would read the whole thing by the time Easter arrives. I borrowed her ideas and did some activities during the days leading up to Easter that were very helpful to them and to me in getting our minds and heart focused on the reason for the season.

I read The Jesus Storybook Bible to the twins one year to prepare their hearts for Easter, and we listened to the CD that goes with it. It is very well done. It is narrated by David Suchet. He does such a fantastic job that you feel like you’re watching a movie as you listen to him read the story.

I see that they have made DVD’s to go with it now. I haven’t watched them yet, but I would be surprised if they were less than excellent.

There is a really good book that you can read with your older kids that accomplishes the purpose of getting their minds and hearts focused on the themes related to Easter, such as sacrifice and redemption. It is called Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter, written by Arnold Ytreeide. You can find it at Amazon and places that sell Christian books. It is a story that is full of action and adventure, and we really enjoyed it. It really helps you to relate to the worry and fear that people feel when a family member has been falsely accused and is sentenced to death. But it has a wonderful ending, and the mood is not so heavy as to be depressing.

We kept a Lenten calendar that year and colored in a space for each day leading up to Easter. The twins really enjoyed that. Here is the calendar that we used.

You can find that and other Lenten activities at this site.

I found out how the early church intended Lent to be observed and why here at this site.
One thing that I really liked was the list of questions we should ask ourselves during this period of self-examination leading up to Easter.

Here it is:
Am I sharing gladly what I have with others, especially the stranger and the poor?
Do I have a gracious and patient attitude with others, especially those who irritate me?
Is it time for a change or a growth in my Bible study and the way I view my faith?
What are the lurking problems, which still plague me?
Am I as thoughtful and forgiving of family as others, or do I take my frustrations out on them?
Do I speak up for the maligned and oppressed, or do I remain silent in order to remain popular?

I thought these were very pertinent questions that would help us to get back on track if we’ve veered off and become self-focused or world-focused instead of Christ-focused. Our relationships are so important. And meditating on these thoughts and keeping them in mind should help us to improve and strengthen our relationships with God and with others.

On Easter Sunday morning, I load up their Easter baskets with all the goodies and set them on the kitchen table. I still make baskets for the older kids, too, so we have ten baskets taking up all the space on the table every Easter morning. As the kids get up I let them go through their baskets to see what they got, and unlike our Christmases, everything they get in their baskets is a surprise to them. I usually get them a new Bible, a book that teaches something about God, a DVD that is Bible-based or has a good moral, or is by a Christian comedian and lots of good candy! There are usually fun little things that I find that I know different ones of the kids will like that I include in their baskets.

If I have made a garden tomb centerpiece, then we look for the body of Jesus. I wrote a post about how we make a garden tomb and what we do with it right here.

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Then we have an Easter egg hunt. I have usually bought nice, new dresses for the younger girls and a nice outfit for Garrett. They wear those during the day. We make Resurrection Rolls and talk about how the body of Jesus started out in the tomb, but when the women came to mourn, his body wasn’t there.

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We read Benjamin’s Box and go through the Resurrection Eggs, too, sometimes. Each egg contains something that is a symbol of Easter.

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I fix a nice dinner that we all eat together. And that’s pretty much what we do to celebrate Easter.

The Tomb is Empty and Where is Jesus?

I saw a post about this project on Facebook about a month before Easter. I shared the photo, and lots of other people “liked” it. I decided I would make this for our Easter centerpiece. It looked easy and very eye-catching. So I got some soil at Walmart and grass seed and the clay pot and saucer.

Then I put them all together, building a mound of dirt over the clay pot and planting grass seed on it. Then I asked Fiona to find some sticks and build some crosses for it. She did a good job with her assignment. She also found lots of little rocks, much to my surprise, since everything is paved around here. I walked by our flower bed and happened to find a big rock just the right size for covering the entrance to our “tomb”.

It was fun watching our grass grow. Pretty soon it grew so tall we had to cut it!

I let Garrett have the privilege of mowing Golgotha.

Fiona had been telling me her idea of putting Jesus in the tomb and then taking him out on Easter morning. I looked for a Jesus figure as I did our Easter shopping, but sadly, I couldn’t find anything about Jesus among all of the Easter decorations and candy. So I asked her to make a paper doll of Jesus for our activity. She struggled with it for several hours. I kept asking how she was doing, and she said she couldn’t do it. She makes lots of things out of paper and she’s very artistic and creative, so I was surprised that she was having a hard time with this. When I went to bed, she still hadn’t made a figure of Jesus to put in the tomb.

I woke up early Easter morning and looked for a picture of Jesus on the computer that I could print out. I finally found one I liked and printed it out and took it downstairs. I thought I would surprise the kids when they got up. When I rolled away the stone to put my picture of Jesus in the tomb, this is what I found!

She surprised me instead! She had figured out how to make Him and she put Him in the tomb. I stood Him up in the entrance of the tomb to show that He had risen.

Then I put my picture of the triumphant Jesus standing over the top of the tomb.

The tomb is empty, praise be to God!

I hid the figure of Jesus in the living room, planning to have the kids go on a big hunt for Jesus. I thought I would have to give them lots of hints and tell them when they were hot and cold. Hiding Jesus was Fiona’s idea, too. I thought that was neat to go along with the disciples not knowing Him when they first saw Him after the Resurrection. I told them that a figure of Jesus was hidden somewhere in the living room, and I described how Fiona had drawn him. Kelsey walked straight over to the bookcase and lifted Him out of the Bible I had placed Him in with part of Him sticking out. So much for the BIG hunt! But they had fun, and I think they got a lot out of the activity.

Fiona really thought a lot about the story of the Resurrection and came up with a neat activity for us to do to commemorate the event. Garrett also enjoyed it a lot and acted out the whole story several times using our centerpiece. He did it for my parents while they were here. They were very impressed. It was a great activity to help them learn more about the Resurrection of Jesus.

Grandparents’ Visit and Anna’s Birthday Party

Garrett got to light the candles for the first time.

Anna’s cake reflects her personality and likes. It’s an ice cream cake, colored blue and green with musical notes all over it. All it needs is a pair of running shoes. Oh yeah, and an iPod.

Fiona loved hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa. My mom and dad still have it!

I bought candles that have a flame that looks the same color as the candle. The only problem was that you can’t see the flame unless it’s dark. We had her party in the middle of the day, which was very unusual for us, and you couldn’t even tell that the candles were lit. Kind of defeats the purpose!

Anna still managed to blow them all out.

Got a good, candid shot when she wasn’t looking, so she wasn’t able to make a goofy or disapproving face at me.

Dad likes to wear shirts that have funny sayings on them. He doesn’t talk much. He lets his shirts do the talking for him.

Mom always wears shirts that tell about how wonderful it is to be a Grandma.

Abby goes until she can go no more.

Getting Ready for Easter


I ordered this set just last week, and they made sure I got it in time. This is from the same company that I got “The Advent Book” from for Christmas, and the children just loved it.

Included in this kit is a set of Resurrection Eggs, the book called Benjamin’s Box, illustrated by Jack Stockman and autographed by him, a little box, and a nice gift bag to put it all in. I am planning to put it on the table on Easter morning with the Easter baskets, and designate it as a gift for the whole family. You can find this at the Celebrations and Traditions website.

I also ordered some really nice things for their Easter baskets this year from Christianbook.com, and they came the other day. I want to surprise the kids, but I’m going to share some of the things here. Let’s see if any of the kids are reading my blog!

I got some DVD’s of Tim Hawkins. We love his clean, Christian comedy. I got a Veggie Tale video for one of them. I got a devotional book for Young Women for one of my young women. I got a devotional for girls for Fiona and one for boys for Garrett. All of the devotional books are by Elizabeth George. There’s a book for Morgan called “The Boy Who Changed the World” by Andy Andrews. I found a book for kids about the five love languages. I’ll put it in Garrett’s basket but read it to all of them. I asked Kelsey to pick out a cross necklace from the Christianbook catalog. She picked the one that changes colors like a mood ring. And I got Jelly Bean Prayer coloring and activity books for Emma and Abby.

We have a centerpiece on our table that portrays the crosses and the empty tomb. Fiona has some ideas about putting a figure of Jesus in the tomb and then taking it out and hiding it somewhere and having the little ones hunt for it. That will be better than an Easter egg hunt! But I’m planning on doing an egg hunt, too. The kids love hunting for eggs.

And of course, I’ll put candy in their baskets.

And I’m planning to get pretty dresses for Emma and Abby. I already got one for Fiona. I don’t think I’ll try so hard to get a cute picture of Emma and Abby like I did last Easter. That was a catastrophe.

This is Good Friday, so we had prayer time and Communion all together. Gary led us over the phone from South Carolina.

Now I’m going to let them make Easter shape cookies yet tonight.

And the plan to make Easter even better than Christmas? I think it’s succeeding. The kids are VERY excited about Easter coming.

So what are your plans for Easter or Passover?

I Want Easter to Be Even Better Than Christmas!

A few years ago I caught the vision of making Easter even more special than Christmas. After all, Jesus’ death and resurrection is the highlight and culmination of everything that Christianity is about. Why should we get all excited about Jesus’ birth and entrance into this world as a little baby and then yawn about the fulfillment of His life’s mission and purpose, not to mention what that sacrifice and offering accomplished for us?

Since that time, I have attempted to make Easter extra special for my family. I bought new Bibles for each child the first year. I got versions for them that would make it easier for each of them to read the Bible themselves. Since then, I have alternated between getting new Bibles, getting Veggie Tales dvd’s, other Christian dvd’s, anything that comes to my attention (by the Spirit’s leading) that seems like it would go along with the message of the life of Christ and His death and resurrection. I put candy in their Easter baskets, too. They get very excited about Easter now.

We make resurrection rolls. We color Easter eggs for fun and have an egg hunt for the little ones. We don’t study the meaning of the word “Easter”. We don’t worship a goddess of fertility. We don’t really even talk much about eggs symbolizing new life. We just have fun and mention many times during the day how thankful we are for Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. The older kids watch “The Passion”. Last year, I had them watch “The Nativity Story” for Easter! Anything about His life story is important when we are celebrating Jesus. And that is what Easter means to us. We celebrate Jesus!

I wrote a very candid post about last Easter if you’re interested in some of the activities we usually do to try to make Easter memorable and Christ-focused. Sometimes I try a little too hard. Or have higher expectations than I should. Or try to do things in my own strength and understanding. You’ll see all of those things in that post. But when I’m weak He is strong.

I hope that this encourages you to focus on Jesus during this spring and Easter season.

We are lightly observing the season of Lent this year. We are not Catholic, but we do believe in fasting and self-examination and preparing our hearts for celebrating Jesus’ life and death.

So I’m incorporating some things that have struck my fancy this year as a way to prepare the hearts of my younger children and get their focus off of the candy and onto the real meaning of Easter – the death and resurrection of Jesus. I wrote about them in this post.

I found out how the early church intended Lent to be observed and why here at this site.

One thing that I really liked was the list of questions we should ask ourselves during this period of self-examination leading up to Easter.

Here it is:

Am I sharing gladly what I have with others, especially the stranger and the poor?
Do I have a gracious and patient attitude with others, especially those who irritate me?
Is it time for a change or a growth in my Bible study and the way I view my faith?
What are the lurking problems, which still plague me?
Am I as thoughtful and forgiving of family as others, or do I take my frustrations out on them?
Do I speak up for the maligned and oppressed, or do I remain silent in order to remain popular?

I thought these were very pertinent questions that would help us to get back on track if we’ve veered off and become self-focused or world-focused instead of Christ-focused. Our relationships are so important. And meditating on these thoughts and keeping them in mind should help us to improve and strengthen our relationships with God and with others.