Hello, friends! I hope you’re feeling this gorgeous Spring weather and soaking in all that is beautiful about this time of year. The sunshine, the luscious greens, the sweet smell of flowers in the air…oh and the allergies (Lord help us).
With Easter approaching next weekend, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what this means for us and the opportunity we have here. To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to jump into this post today. It’s not the one I had planned to write at all. It feels a little heavy and uncomfortable. But, I sat down and out flowed these words. That’s usually when it’s right though, amen? When the good and the hard go hand in hand.
Just promise me you’ll read this with an open mind. One mama to another…on an equal playing field…with no judgment one way or the other. Ok, here we go..
I was in Target this week (big surprise) and I overheard a little girl tell her mom, “See this, Mom? This is what I want for Easter this year,” pointing to a Barbie on the shelf. Something in me unexpectedly cringed. I don’t judge the family, because… well I learned a long time ago that’s never a good idea. But, I just wonder, how did we ever turn our savior’s death and resurrection into another present buying holiday full of expectations?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love holidays and all things tradition!! It’s magical and SO much fun. Also, for the record, in past years I have always purchased Easter baskets for my kids.
But, I just can’t help but feel like there’s a better way. Like, if Jesus was here and He saw me making such a fuss to fill a basket with meaningless toys for my kids in an attempt to celebrate His resurrection, I think He might stop me with an incredulous “Are you kidding me?”. This revelation makes me uncomfortable. In my flesh, I want to keep going the way I’ve always gone. It’s fun to follow the way of the world and honestly it’s just fun to surprise my kids with things. It’s not wrong and it’s not harmful. But, what am I really doing for them in the long run?
By celebrating in this way, I’m showing them something different than what I aim to teach them. We do the resurrection eggs and we discuss the gospel, but if I’m being really honest, the real celebrating has been about the Easter bunny. He’s the one that shows up and leaves surprises. He’s the one we take our picture with. Inadvertently, he is the one they could easily come to think the holiday is about. I knew there had to be a way to change this and still have a great time and so I decided it…I’m not doing “Easter baskets” for may kids this year. (I’ll give you a second to recover from that comment, haha!) I’m also not a total dud, so here are some more meaningful options I’ve thought of instead:
Work with your kids to create a “Blessing Basket”. I’ve seen a couple different variations of this on Pinterest. Here’ s how it works. You set out the easter baskets ahead of time and have your kids collect rocks. Read to them from the Bible (a children’s bible is better for keeping attention) about how Jesus takes our sins (the rocks) and washes them away, replacing them with “blessings”. Have an honest conversation about what your kids struggle with (i.e. sharing, kindness, whining, etc.) and write these words on the rocks in each child’s basket. Make sure to provide an example of how you struggle to make them feel safe about sharing. The night before Easter, cover the baskets with some sort of fabric. Replace the rocks with “blessings” (practical things they need and other fun Jesus reminders like books, stickers, bible story coloring books, etc.) This is a great tangible analogy for them to begin to understand His saving grace.
Surprise your kids with a “Giving Basket” full of both practical and fun items to give away. Have a plan about where to take these items (i.e. A homeless shelter, a foster care center, out in the community, etc.). Make sure to explain that Jesus loves us in both intangible and tangible ways. He uses people to bless one another, and this basket will allow them to be in charge of blessing someone in a very tangible way.
Resources you can download now:
1. I’m planning to use this free scavenger hunt resource by Happy Home Fairy for the kids to track down their “blessing baskets”.
2. These super cute scripture eggs by The Crafty Classroom will be great for teaching about Easter and helping older kids memorize scripture.
3. These are the Resurrection Eggs we use each year. I love that they have a physical item to hold that symbolizes what happened in the reading. It has scripture along with a story format for each day. My kids get so excited about opening the eggs and guessing what’s inside.
All of this to say, I just really believe there’s got to be a way to teach our kids that who we celebrate matters. Our praise and adoration—those are for Jesus. Not out of obligation or legalism, but because we actually believe what He did for us and we do in fact adore Him and need Him on the daily. I want my kids to stand firm on the fact that our praise and our daily focus on Him is life changing, even from a very young age.
That’s how we create confident little people with the right priorities. Like Dr. Straub says, “When we lead our families with eternity in mind, the day-to-day becomes much more about who we are in Him, and less about who we’re not in the world.”
Thanks for hanging in there with me. Maybe you’ve gotten to the end of this and you feel God stirring. I challenge you to pray over and consider your Easter traditions. What do you do currently? How might God be calling you to tweak it a little to bring Him glory? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. I value your insight and I think we are truly better together in this whole mama thing.
May your Easter celebration be the best yet!
P.S. On a less serious note. Someone please have some Cadbury’s for me. This lactose intolerant girl is always craving them this time of year.