Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Advent: 8 Days to Prepare our Hearts for the Resurrection!

Happy Easter to you all! 

This year I wanted to focus our minds and hearts on the purpose of our joyful celebration of Easter, and also to share this reason of our celebration with others. I came across this idea of an 8-day Easter Advent via the website Motherhood Your Way. It looked "doable" ... and by that I mean cheap, easy and fast for me to prepare, and kept our focus on Jesus. I took some liberties and changed a few things ... but in a nutshell, here's what we did: 

I hung our 8 cards in an easily-seen place in our home so that we could continue the conversation, excitement, and activities throughout the week. I had each girl take a turn pulling down a card and reading it aloud each morning as a kick-off to our day. 

Day 1: Create an Easter nativity set and use it to retell the Easter story. 

So this was pretty cool, and one we can save to set out next year! I collected toilet-paper rolls from friends and neighbors, printed out the people and tomb templates onto cardstock paper, and voila!  The tomb is glued onto a Kleenex box with the top opened up on the side for the tomb. To print these templates out for FREE, go to the Catholic Icing website

Day 2: Jesus died and was resurrected in the springtime. Springtime is a time of new life. Make a spring mural and talk about what Jesus loves. 

This was easy-peasy! I cut out strips of construction paper for the petals and stems, then let the girls put the flowers together. We used painter's tape to hang it on the stairwell. Sure brightens up our entryway! 

Day 3: Do an act of secret service for another family and talk about how Jesus loved and served everyone. 

I took this idea to "egg" a family straight off the Motherhood Your Way website! We counted out plastic eggs (2 for each family member), filled them with candy and the girls wrote a special note sharing what we love about each person in this special family. Then we bought an Easter lily and filled it with our eggs, waited for this special family to leave their house, and then EGGED them! The sign on the door says "You've Been Egged!"

Day 4: Make a card for someone who is sick and talk about how Jesus healed the sick. 

We talked about who we know who is sick or suffering right now. Several people were thought of in this, which made my heart smile that the girls were thinking of these people more than I knew. (Amazing what we learn about our kids when we have these conversations!)  Anyway they enjoyed making their separate cards for a sweet woman at our church. We're going to deliver them this week (last week wasn't a good week for her to have visitors). 

Day 5: Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Each person is important to Him. Do secret service in your home to make each person feel special. 

I wish EVERYday was "secret service" day! LOL!  It was fun watching the girls come up with ways they could bless others. I wish I had a picture of this, but it's seared in my mind ... Ellie helping Ben get on his tricycle with such patience and care. I stopped in mid-stride just to watch it. Sweetness to my soul.

I also had breakfast in bed served to me the next morning by my firstborn! A hot cup of coffee and a soggy bowl of cereal! It was fantastic! My prayer is that they start to see how blessing others not only pleases their Lord, but it truly blesses them in return. 

Day 6: Jesus died for us. Make a cross-project that reminds you of Christ's loving sacrifice. 

We had worked on this tomb garden the week before, but wanted to add the 3 crosses to it on Good Friday (day 6). I loved making this tomb garden ... such a powerful visual of death being conquered! 

Day 7: Jesus's friends loved him and watched him tortured and killed on a cross. Make a stained-glass cross with tissue paper, and talk about how they must have felt when Jesus died.  

Truth be told - we did not get to this on Saturday with all our preparations for Easter Sunday. But I'd like to either do it later this week or maybe keep it for next year.  Check it out at Kara's Creative Place

Day 8: Jesus is Risen! Open an empty but beautifully wrapped gift box and talk about how the tomb was empty on Easter morning. 

This was a great object lesson - but Ben did not appreciate that the box only had a white cloth inside! He was a little stunned into silence while Daddy explained the significance of the true gift we have in salvation and relationship with Jesus our Savior. 

Using the 8-days of Easter Advent activities was a great way to prepare our kids for the true meaning of Easter! It helped us nurture an understanding of the reason we celebrate the resurrection ... and why this one event changed everything for us. We hope and pray your own celebration of Easter was wonderful and worshipful as well. 

Much love,
The Utechts