Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asked several times what our family is doing to prepare for Easter. That question has been answered with some uneasy silence and some awkward verbal fumbling on my part. The truth is, I take Easter very seriously. I have no doubt that most of the people asking me to do as well. However, for me, Easter is very personal. I am literally overwhelmed at the thought of what Easter is meant to celebrate, and I get a little self-righteous when talk of baskets, eggs, and bunnies comes around. The thing that used to turn me off about Christians, before I became one, was this exact projection of judgment and self-righteousness. So imagine my horror when I started to notice this behavior in yours truly.
“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13
Bottom line, every Easter I get very reflective on the life I lived without Christ. It is wrought with disgrace, hurt and embarrassment. I am shocked when I think of the person I was. Worst of all, I am saddened at how much about me is still lacking. As such, reflection on the sacrifice of Christ, which covers the multitude of my sins, overwhelms me. It is for this reason I think I have become so rigid about “Christian” holidays (or what is left of them) like Christmas and Easter. My feelings on Christmas are a whole other story. Suffice it to say that while I think celebrating the birth of Christ is of value, it is the celebration of His resurrection, that is paramount. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. (1 Corinthians 15:17) Without the resurrection, Christ is just another guru who claimed to be God before they died. And die He did. But Christ, and only Christ, defeated death. Only Christ is who He claimed to be, God.
”And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17
I don’t know about you, but when I think about an appropriate way to celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice that makes possible my saving grace, it seems like a daunting task. This year, I wanted to get our girls some Easter gifts that would help celebrate the holiday. I also wanted to make something I have seen online called a “Resurrection Garden.” I have seen several that I liked and decided that I would like to make ours a permanent piece for our home. I’ve included links to two of my favorites. One is a miniature garden like the one I made, the other is large-scale and in an actual garden. I will give you my list of suggested materials, but I think a great idea is to be creative and make your garden with your own found objects so it is personal.
You will need:
- sand (we used our sandbox sand
- dirt (potting soil if you want it to be “clean”)
- a cup or tiny terracotta flower-pot for the “tomb”
- a bowl or terracotta large pot tray (I had a large hurricane candle container that I used)
- a large stone (to cover the tomb opening)
- small rocks
- tiny sticks
- glue gun or super glue
- give bowl or tray a layer of sand or dirt (we used sand as we wanted it to be more authentic)
- place cup or small terracotta pot in the tray or bowl leaving enough room in front of the pot for the large stone to cover the “tomb” entrance
- use rocks, sand and dirt to create a “hill” over the top of the cup and cover the top of the “tomb.” Be sure to have enough sand so that when you make your crosses, they will stick in the sand.
- make three crosses with your glue, set aside to dry
- landscape the top and outside of your tomb as you see fit. We used a combination of rocks, dirt and sand. I put several small rough pebbles on the top of the tomb to imitate the rough terrain of Jerusalem.
- place the three crosses in position on the top of the hill above the “tomb”
- place the large rock in front of the entrance
Since Christ was taken into custody on Maundy Thursday and crucified and buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea on what we now call Good Friday, we have our rock to the side leaving the tomb open for now. On Friday, we will read the Bible and talk to the girls about our garden before closing the entrance to the tomb with the large rock. There it will stay until Sunday morning. We will move the stone on Sunday morning before the girls wake up so they can see the tomb empty.
I’m really excited about this new tradition for our family. If you’re inspired by it, I hope you’ll try it too. Please share pictures and updates if you do!
Finally, I would like to end by saying that I am not suggesting that people do not do Easter baskets, dye eggs or enjoy an egg hunt. My suggestion is simply to keep Christ at the center of this holiday, which can be hard with kids. I guess I just don’t want Jesus competing for attention with a chocolate bunny.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
“He is not here; he has risen!” Luke 24:6
From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Easter!