By Shannon Schulz
As young parents, my husband and I were torn about how to celebrate Easter with our girls. We knew intrinsically that dying eggs and Easter bunnies had nothing to do with Jesus’ brutal death and resurrection, but we also held sweet family memories of our own childhood Easter celebrations. They were mostly surrounding dying eggs and early morning egg hunts. So, what was to be done?
I was determined to find a way to bring the two together, committing my angst before the Lord, when *snap*, it came to me! The Lord showed me how to make Easter one of our most memorable teaching moments. Even as our girls age, they look forward to Easter with glee. This is how we now celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.
Friday evening, we set aside for dying eggs. We start with one dozen eggs, representing the twelve disciples. We have a thirteenth egg that represents Jesus. We begin in Genesis, talking about how we were sinless in the Garden of Eden, much like a brand new egg, pure white and soft inside. When we chose to eat of the apple, we became hardened by sin, much like a hard-boiled egg. This is when we boil our one dozen eggs.
However, our sin nature does not stop there. What was the first thing Adam and Eve noticed when they became aware of their sin? That’s right! They covered their nakedness. Much like we do, we cover ourselves with all kinds of colors and activities. This is when we begin the egg dying process, discussing the many ways we cover ourselves. Let the Spirit guide you through that part. Brainstorm verses that talk about the ways we cover ourselves and or how we are impacted by our sinful nature. What is our sin nature? What does it lead to?
We generally attend a Good Friday service at our church, where scripture is read about Jesus’ brutal death and placement in the tomb. We are left feeling somber, realizing just what He suffered on our behalf. When we return home, we take our thirteenth egg, that represents Jesus, still uncooked and white. Jesus who was without sin, was pure, not hardened by sin, and pure white. We re-read about Jesus’ death and placement in the tomb. But, just as importantly, we read about Judas’ betrayal in Luke 22:1-53 and compare it to Peter’s denial of Jesus, Luke 22:54-62. What was the difference in their response to their betrayal? Peter wept and was broken, where Judas was hardened and took his own life. Jesus will meet us in our brokenness, no matter what we have done. We take one of the twelve disciples out of the carton – Judas was no longer with Jesus, leaving eleven (Matt 27:1-10).
We read about the burial of Jesus in Luke 23:50-56. Taking our pure white egg, we wrap it in a white paper towel, placing it gently in our mock tomb.
Shutting it in by a large bolder, until after the Passover, when the spices for His burial would be prepared.
Sunday morning, when our girls rise, we have them get dressed and come to the kitchen to gather their spices. We have them roll play Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the Mother of James approaching the tomb with their spices to anoint Jesus body. Reading Mark 16:1-8, they act out their roles.
This is what they see when they approach our mock tomb.
We then read about Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene in Luke 24:1-12. One child roll plays her response, which in scripture leaves Peter wondering what happened. The last scripture we read is Matthew 28:1-10, where Jesus tells the women,
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
At this point, we send them out on their egg hunt, to ‘go!’ find the eleven disciples.
“Go and gather them in the upper room! Jesus has risen! Just like He said! Go tell them!
They’re hiding, but must know! Run!”
As they find dyed eggs, they gather them in our ‘upper room’.
As our girls have aged, we have added more to the story – including Jesus appearing to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) appearing to the disciples, and ascension (Luke 24:36-53). This can all be adapted to meet your child’s attention span and age.
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