By Nancy Twigg
Making Jesus the center of your family's celebration can present a challenge when images of the Easter Bunny are so prevalent. Parents must take special measures to help kids understand that Jesus is the giver of Easter gifts—His love, His sacrificial death, the salvation we have through Him, not a big rabbit who hands out candy and colored eggs. Here are some ideas for putting the spiritual significance back into your Easter celebration.
* Put a spiritual twist on the tradition of decorating Easter eggs. Before dying the hard-boiled eggs, use crayons to write an Easter message on each egg. Because the crayon wax keeps the dye from adhering in those spots, your "Jesus is Risen" and "Jesus Died for You" messages will show through clearly.
* If your church does not celebrate Holy Week, attend Holy Week services at a church that does. Or celebrate each day as a family by reading passages of scripture that recount what each special day commemorates.
* Attend an Easter cantata presented by a church other than the one your family normally attends. This allows family members to experience a celebration of Easter that is different than that to which they are accustomed.
* As a family, choose a few craft projects that emphasis the meaning of Easter. Do an Internet search or check out books from the library for ideas. Use your completed projects to decorate your home for your family celebration.
* Celebrate the Resurrection of Christ by doing the kinds of things Jesus came to earth to do. Extend God's love to others by visiting the elderly and sick, gathering up clothing to take to a homeless shelter, or making and delivering food baskets to families in need.
* If you don't usually do so, attend a sunrise service so your family can experience a little of what Jesus' followers must have felt the morning they found the empty tomb. Afterwards, enjoy a big family breakfast in celebration of the Risen Lord.
* Do some research on how the Resurrection is celebrated in other cultures. Turn the Easter celebration into a learning experience by enjoying traditional Easter foods and activities from another country.
* Many churches make Easter crosses by attaching real flowers in some fashion to a wooden cross to symbolize the new life brought to us through Jesus' death. Make your own family Easter cross by cutting out a large cross from brown construction paper. Let the children use construction paper, markers, crayons and paint to create flowers to decorate it.
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