Easter is my favorite holiday. And it’s not because I like chocolate bunnies and tie-dyed eggs (even though I do like chocolate bunnies and tie-dyed eggs). I love Easter because I love Jesus, and Easter is the day He triumphed over Satan, sin and death. It is the day that we celebrate all that He has done for us: “…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
It’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Easter with all of the commercialism that surrounds it in our culture (case in point: I just got an e-mail from our local mall inviting us out for photos with the Easter Bunny. The 6-foot tall “bunny” with beady little eyes looked pretty creepy in the photo. I don’t think we’ll be going). I want to make sure that my kids know why we celebrate Easter–that it’s not just another excuse to gorge on candy or trudge through the mud puddles looking for hidden surprises (at least, that’s what Easter egg hunts are like in Seattle). I want my kids to know that we celebrate Easter because of something amazing that Jesus did for them. I want them to know that it was a very hard thing for Jesus to do, but He did it because He loves them very, very much. He did it because He wants them to know Him and have a personal relationship with their Savior. And, hopefully, some day they will.
I’ve used Resurrection Eggs in the past to teach my students the Easter story. Basically you fill a dozen plastic eggs with small objects that correlate with Bible verses to tell the Easter story. You open one egg each day until Easter (starting 12 days out), read the verse, and look at the object inside the egg. By the end of the 12 days you’ve told the whole Easter story. It’s a wonderful tool to use with young children so I decided that I’d get a set of Resurrection Eggs for my own kids this year. I looked them up on Amazon and, lo and behold, they were $15! No, ma’am, I will not pay $15 for plastic eggs filled with trinkets. So, I went ahead and made my own. I already had all of the supplies at home and it took about 10 minutes to gather everything and put them together. Here’s what I put together if you want to make your own set of Resurrection Eggs to use with your little ones.
12 plastic Easter eggs. Any size and color will work just fine.
- small leaf (symbolizing a plam branch) Matthew 21:9 “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!'”
- nickel (symbolizing 30 silver coins) Matthew 26:14-15 “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.”
- a piece of Chex cereal (symbolizing bread–you could use a small piece of bread or a cracker instead) Matthew 26:26 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.'”
- a “scroll” with Jesus’ prayer on it (symbolizing Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane) Matthew 26:39 “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’”
- rope (symbolizing the whips that scourged Jesus) Mark 15:15 “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
- thorn (symbolizing Jesus’ crown of thorns. I used a clipping off my rose bush, but you could use a doll crown or a crown made out of tinfoil instead) Matthew 27:29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.
- nail (symbolizing the nails used in Jesus’ crucifixion) John 19: 16-17 “Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”
- dice (symbolizing that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing) Matthew 27:35 “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
- toothpick (symbolizing the spear that pierced Jesus’ side) John 19:34 “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”
- cloth (symbolizing Jesus’ burial clothes) Matthew 27:59 “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth”
- Rock (symbolizing the stone that was rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb) Matthew 27:66 “So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
- nothing (OK, so this isn’t so much something as it is a lack of something–there is nothing in the last egg to symbolize the empty tomb!) Matthew 28:5-6 “5 The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’”
Bible I like using a physical Bible whenever I can with the little ones. I want them to learn that the Bible is God’s true written Word, and there is something special about having a physical book that they can see and touch and explore. I decided to keep a list of the verses I’ll be using for reference in my Bible and then I hi-lighted each verse in my Bible. I’ll show David the verse in my Bible each day and have him touch the words as I read them to him. Box or Egg Carton For Storage I just used an empty egg carton to store my eggs in. I used a Sharpie marker to number the eggs 1-12 once I filled them, and then placed them in the correct order. That’s it, we’re ready to go! This year I will begin using the Resurrection Eggs on Wednesday, March 20th (11 days before Easter so we can open egg #12 on Easter). If you want to do more than one egg per day, or even the whole box at once, go for it! The beauty of this activity is that you can go at your own pace and follow your child’s leading.
There’s also a great book that goes along with the Resurrection Eggs called Benjamin’s Box if you’re interested in some more enrichment.
Happy Easter: He is risen! He is risen indeed!