Celebrating Holy Week With Kids
Easter Sunday is the central celebration of our faith yet I struggle more and more because it seems to me that what begins with triumphant shouts of Christ is Risen Alleluiah, and a beautiful flowering of the cross ends with an easter egg hunt.
“It’s great to see the kids so enthusiastic.” people tell me, but is it really? Is an enthusiastic sugar high really a substitute for celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Have we bought into the secular culture so much that we can no longer tell the difference?
Others struggle too. The values emphasized in the easter egg hunt are counter to kingdom values – greed, individualism and competitiveness drive kids to find more candy not to share but for themselves. And what about the symbolism?
The Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit. Long ago, he was called the “Easter Hare”, hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births so they became a symbol of fertility. The custom of an Easter egg hunt began because children believed that hares laid eggs in the grass. The Romans believed that “All life comes from an egg.” Christians to consider eggs to be “the seed of life” and so they are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why we colour and decorate eggs is not certain but in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia eggs were dyed for spring festivals as a sign of fertility.
Now I am all for taking the symbols of the culture and transforming them into the symbols of our faith, but I wonder have we transformed this symbol or has it transformed us? Are our values and our joy in the resurrection of Christ subverted by the secular culture that is all into greed, consumption and competitiveness? Do we miss out on the life that the season is meant to renew in us because we are caught up in another world view?
Having said all that I think that Holy Week and Easter Sunday in particular should be a wonderful celebration of life and faith for adults and kids. Here are some resources you might like to check out.
Looking for crafts
One of the most creative ideas for Easter week is what South Wilford Church of England Primary School in Nottingham did for Maundy Thursday.
And from youthpastor.com a great suggestion for Holy week stations based on The Lord’s Prayer.
This tin foil cross craft is also a creative project that I think would appeal to kids and adults alike.
Faith at home has some good suggestions on activities to participate in with children.
And Little Takas has a variety of colouring pages available for children of all ages.
Catholic Mom has printable Stations of the Cross for Kids
And here are simple directions for making palm crosses
Or you might like to consider making Resurrection eggs
In France the bells not the Easter bunny bring the eggs: French Easter Bell craft because the bells stop ringing on Maundy Thursday and don’t ring again until the joyous sound of Easter Sunday.
Want to do some Easter gardening:
Make this Easter grace garden from Ann Voskamp with your kids.
Or this simpler Easter Resurrection Garden
Or perhaps this mini resurrection garden – which I love because it is a growing garden.
Looking for recipes:
or the traditional English treat for Good Friday Hot cross buns, which I grew up with and still like to make every year.
And I love these creative Easter story cookies inviting kids into a sensual experience of cooking.
Looking for videos:
Share this with your kids
This is part of this series on Resources for Holy Week.
Here are all the posts: