When they drove the spike into His sinews; all that lay dead, stirred.

And when they drove the cross with the crucified Man into the earth, all that lay buried, heaved hope.

There's a death that births life.

And the revived and resurrected people,celebrate Easter and the Crucified Christ who makes all things New.  

Could there be a more important hol-i-day? Holy Day? Come join us in really celebrating!

Five Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Easter

1. Keep Watch with Christ in the Garden:

Make A Miniature Family Lenten Garden

 

Our beginning, and our mortal fall, began in a garden.

Christ's beginning to right that fall began in a garden, passion anguish dripping great drops of blood. And so our new beginning begins in a garden, a stone rolled away to that echoing tomb, shroud whispering in the wind.

So make a miniature Easter garden, a miniature garden for Spring, remembering of the grief of our first Eden beginning and the wonder of our new Christ beginnings… 

Our children anxiously look forward to lighting one more candle in the Lenten garden during the week leading up to Easter…

A tutorial to make your own Lenten Garden

 

2. Keep the Supper of the Lamb:

Serve a Messianic Passover Seder Meal


 

When the Israelites brushed the blood of the lamb on the lintels of the Israelite doors, the angel of death passed over their homes.  And Easter again invites God's people to continue to keep the Passover, thankful  celebration of the Blood of the Christ lamb marking the doors of our hearts, that the angel of death now forever passes over us. 

Why keep the Passover, that day that God said "shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever" (Ex. 12:14)?

It isn’t about keeping laws and regulations. It isn’t about keeping our burdens. It isn’t about keeping some empty, meaningless customs.

It is about keeping something worth preserving: emblems pregnant with the fulfillment of the New Covenant. It is about the questions that keep time to the beat of our children’s heart: Why am I here? What does all of this living really mean? Where am I headed? When will I be all that I am to be?

So we take out our messianic passover seder plate and goblet and we read the very thoughtful booklet that accompanies it, explaining the essential elements of the Passover feast and why keeping the Passover is  significant to all believers in Jesus Christ.

This meal is truly the highlight of our year… and our children keenly await celebrating Passover, even more so than any other holiday of the year…  

Dayspring's beautiful Passover tableware collection (which is actually half price right now) that we'll be setting out this year…

The story of how our family keeps the tradition of a Messianic Seder Meal

Messianic Seder Dinner:A Menu

3. Keep an Easter Tree:

A Complement to the Christmas Tree

 

As we decorated a Christmas tree with the symbols of Christ's miraculous coming… so we decorate an Easter tree with the symbols of Christ's miraculous saving.

A wee tutorial on making an Easter Tree and the accompanying Easter devotionals

4. Keep Company with Jesus to Calvary:

Mark the Days till Easter


As Advent days are marked until the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem, so we too reflectively observe the days until Easter, keeping company with Jesus as He carries the cross — all our Grace-Hope — to Calvary. Consider making a Family Easter Calendar — much like an Advent Calender — a way to mark the days till Easter — and the culmination of all God's promises in Christ.

Our family story of marking the days until Easter

The background behind our wooden candle Easter Calendar

5. Keep a Clean Heart:

Make a Family Repentance Box

We create a quiet corner to come write out our confessions,scratch down our repentances, tuck them away in the dark of a tomb-box… and come Easter morning, we leave the box empty too, burn all our sins away, and hope rises from our ashes.

This one activity has so grown and moved us… our family repentance box has stayed year-long…

The story of our Family Repentance Box


Behold your lamb…  who comes to take away the sins of the world…

The sins of today. So we, the dead made alive, our dry bones dance joy and all the world watches the glory celebration of the Hosanna people who cannot help but sing New Life!

For all is forgiven.

 

Bonus: Six (More) Ways for a Family to Celebrate Easter

Q4U:

How are you preparing your heart to fully appreciate the wonder of Easter?

Let's encourage each other with ideas in the comment box!

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  • http://www.momssharpeningmoms.blogspot.com Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms

    Ann,
    I just showed this post to my husband, and we are both so excited to add a few of these treasures to our Easter celebrations (the repentance box is brilliant)! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing them with us.
    Girl…you bring a whole new meaning to “thinking outside the box”. I think you jump-up-and-down on the box and toss it out the window! :)
    Easter blessings and joy to you and yours!

  • http://www.thehomespunheart.blogspot.com Monica

    Lovely ideas! We usually begin on Palm Sunday with acting out the entry of Jesus waving palm branches – our dog or daddy is the donkey and we just have fun with it!
    Each day of the week, we think more together about what this week means to us as believers. We celebrate a Passover Seder meal together, wash one another’s feet, make empty tomb biscuits and lamb cupcakes!
    I’ve wanted to let my children experience hammering a nail into a cross to imagine this scene – last year we didn’t do it, so perhaps this year.
    This year we are thrilled to add one of your Caleb’s advent to lent wreaths to our celebration!
    I also want to try either the Lenten Garden or a wheat grass hill of Calvary garden this year.
    Blessings to you, Ann!
    Monica

  • http://www.kristinemcguire.com Kristine McGuire

    Really lovely ideas.

  • http://contented-sparrow.blogspot.com/2010/03/lent-easter-garden-made-here-yesterday.html megan

    Precious Ann-
    We’ve been inspired to begin so many new traditions because of you…to put the joy and truth of Easter (and Christmas!) palpable into our hands…to help little ones to truly see. Our Lenten garden grows…our box fills…
    Thank you, thank you and yes,
    blessings to you, Ann,
    Megan

  • http://www.thegypsymama.com thegypsymama

    Sometimes, when I read what you write Ann, I wish I was one of your kids. What a mama you are – teaching truth at every creative turn.
    ~Lisa-Jo

  • Susan

    After reading one of Ann’s web journals, I understood the need for Lent – not as a Catholic ritual, but a personal one. I spend weeks looking for the perfect Christmas gifts, decorate the house, etc… yet Easter preparations are short: go to church and a family dinner. I was seriously convicted of the need to prepare my heart and mind for the significance of the Cross.
    When I gave prayerful thought to what I could “give up” for Lent, the Lord impressed upon my heart to give up diet soda. Huh?!? Come on, I meant give up something “big” – diet soda?!?
    I gave up diet soda on Ash Wed, and haven’t had a soda since. What I’ve come to realize is that Jesus has more faith in me than I do… I don’t even miss the soda! Not only that, but Jesus did a work in my prideful heart. I didn’t want to give up diet soda because I knew I would “fail” before I started… I like my soda (1-2 a day) and I don’t like plain old water! I wanted to give up something “big” that was impressive, something I would be proud about. …Yet I was already doomed to “fail” without the cross.
    And day by day, my failures are given-up into His nail-pierced hands… the One who gave up His life for me.
    A repentent heart prepared…
    Susan

  • http://www.becomingme.net Angela Nazworth

    Ann, thank you for these lovely ideas.

  • http://www.truewoman.com/?id=168 Kimberly Wagner

    Dearest Ann,
    Thank you for sharing your traditions which bring the passion season into vivid focus.
    My favorite (so far) devotional reading during Lent is “The Suffering Savior” by FW Krummacher (The Banner of Truth Trust). The first English edition was printed in 1856. You may already be familiar with it, but if not, I wanted to pass on to you one of my dearest treasures.
    Blessings to you today dear one,
    Kimberly Wagner
    Hebrews 12:1-4

  • http://www.mustardseeds.typepad.com Janna
  • sk

    We’re on a campaign around here to make Easter as big of a deal as Christmas.
    It’s great that Christ came as a baby, but nothing would’ve changed if He hadn’t died and rose again. So this holiday should be a BIGGER deal!
    We observe from Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, all the way to Easter. We fast. We’ve often observed Passover, as well.
    We wear all black on Good Friday and go to a walk through Stations of the Cross at a local church.
    Easter everyone gets new clothes to wear to church representing the new life we have in Christ.
    Easter is just a big ol’ celebration!!!

  • Kay Devine

    Dear Ann, I love you so in Christ! My mission is to be Jesus to my grandchildren. They are at my house 7 days a week, 4 hours per day, 5 yrs., 3 yrs., and 1 1/2 yrs. old.
    Isaiah 52:7 (New International Reader’s Version)
    7 What a beautiful sight it is
    to see messengers coming with good news!
    How beautiful to see them coming down from the mountains
    with a message about peace!
    How wonderful it is when they bring the good news
    that we are saved!
    How wonderful when they say to Zion,
    “Your God rules!”
    Ann, we love you and the messages you faithfully bring each and every day. Thank you.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    Hey Kristen :)
    Thanks for taking the strange girls who never really fit into boxes very well :)
    Monica, I see our dog with a future as a donkey :) I was thinking too — an Easter Garland with the names of Jesus? Like you so beautifully made for Christmas? You are such a talented, creative woman! Thank you for inspiring, Monica!
    Kristine — thank-you! It really has been one of my greatest joys since our first was born nearly 15 years ago now — creating family traditions and daily rhythms that turn us all towards Jesus. Isn’t it wonderful to be a Mama?

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    Megan — how *you* have inspired and encouraged me — and so many! You radiate Jesus, beautiful woman!
    Lisa-Jo — oh, girl, I blow it here every. single. day. as a Mama. I am so grateful for grace! And for our wonderful posse of kids who show it to me every. single. day. And I’m thinking your boys have one pretty great Mama themselves :)
    Susan, thank you. For giving testimony to the Jesus Grace in you. And oh, yes, “a heart prepared for Easter” — may it be so. *Thank you.*

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    Kimberly — I hadn’t heard of this devotional — and just found it available online here: http://www.gracegems.org/28/krummacher.htm
    My humble, heartfelt thanks!
    Janna — and I’m so taken with your Calvary Hill Tutorial! I linked in my sidebar :) Thank you for encouraging us onto Jesus!
    SK? Okay — you and I are singing the *same* song! :) You are just singing better, clearer, more on tune! and I’m stammering and fumbling along :) YES! Easter to be “bigger” on our calendars, in our hearts, than Christmas! Your joy has blessed me — thank you!
    Kay — could grandchildren be blessed with a Grandma with a better mission? Oh yes — to be the fragrance, smile, hands of Jesus wherever we are. You mentor and grace… my humble gratitude, Kay….
    So grateful for this encouraging community! (I come a way with so much more than I feebly offered here — My sincerest gratitude…. Thank you!)
    All’s grace,
    Ann

  • http://healingheartsrenewingminds.blogspot.com/ Darlene

    You know miss Ann, my heart is split between the beauty of Him nailing our sins (and some of mine have been oh so giant) and His resurrection which binds us to Him for eternal life…and the ugly of what is happening in America right now, where Life is being recklessly tossed about in WA D.C.
    Is there a connection between the two? God died for me and saved me from my drowning sins. What does He call me to do? How does He call me to stand?
    For Him. Always.
    For Life. Always, too.
    Can I unabashedly ask others to join me? I had shame, but do no more. I don’t want others to drown in what sin nearly sunk me to the bottom.
    http://aspiretoleadaquietlife.blogspot.com/2010/03/who-have-upheld-his-justice.html
    Darlene
    (aka A Simple Country Girl)

  • Beth Werner Lee

    The favorite celebration for me is Easter Vigil, the candlelight service of Easter. It begins in an outdoor garden with a fire, and the pastor lights the christ candle, from which everyone gets to light their hand held candle and sing “The Light of Christ; Thanks be to God.” Then we go into a chapel where votives are the only lights on altar and piano and we hear 7 to 12 readings: creation, flood, red sea, dry bones, fire (Daniel), storm (Jonah) and have responses sung and prayed and by and by we remember, oh, this is God, who has throughout history performed miracles, and yes, they are true, and I can believe. Then we light our candles again and process to a place of baptism, usually the entryway to the sanctuary, and if someone’s there to be baptized (traditionally Lent is also the time of preparing for baptism) we have a baptism but if not we all reaffirm our own. And there’s more singing, and the pastor stands at the door to the church and it should be midnight but it’s usually not yet, and he says, “Christ is risen!” and we respond, “He is risen, indeed!” and we process into the church and have a whole service like Sunday with sermon and communion altogether around the altar rail, a big circle two or three people deep, and sing a round in Latin.
    It’s my favorite service of the year and I get to work to prepare it, so as I type word and prayer, song and rhetoric and as I ask people to read and lead prayers, I pray, anticipate joy.
    But Walter Wangerin has said you can’t really enjoy the Easter resurrection if you aren’t willing to look at the cross. This year I’ve been following Ann’s posts and we have a Hebrew class passover to attend as well as trying to do one at home for the first time, and there will be a stations of the cross service on Friday for which the youth have been drawing the pictures, quite nicely.
    I bought Bread and Wine, a book Ann recommended, and on Tuesday night when I was really really down and sad and crying out to God all I could do was ask him to take over and then in the morning I read St Augustine, “Filled with terror by my sins and my load of misery I had been turning over in my mind a plan to flee into solitude, but you forbade me, and strengthened me by your words. ‘To this end Christ died for all,’ you reminded me, ‘that they who are alive may live not for themselves, but for him who died for them.’ See then Lord: I cast my care upon you that I may live, and I will contemplate the wonders you have revealed. You know how stupid and weak I am: teach me and heal me.”
    How did St. Augustine know exactly what was going on in me and how did God guide me to dip in just there? I’d despaired and God accepted my giving it up to him, my “giving up” toward him. Maybe Lent is a time when it’s okay to mourn, that we may be comforted. A time to be real.

  • http://www.kohen.com Elika Kohen

    If Christian Scripture is explicit that Jesus died during the Day of Preparation, before the Passover, then how could the last supper have been a Passover feast where they ate the lamb?
    http://www.kohen.com/2010/03/messianic-jewish-christ-in-passover-lie.html
    Jews for Jesus is still sending missionaries to Churches to persuade Christians that Jesus somehow observed “Rabbinic Traditions”, (which started about +200 years afterwards). I cannot see how Christians can pretend that Jesus was imitating Pharisaic Judaism, or its offshoot, Rabbinic Judaism. Its a bizarre marketting campaign.

  • http://lauraboggess.blogspot.com laura

    Ann,
    I love your Lenton garden. Yes, we will be adding this to our waiting this year! Such beautiful traditions. You always inspire me to go deeper…and to take my children along. I think I underestimate them sometimes. They always jump right into to these activities when I ask.
    Thank you for encouraging me to ask.
    You bless.

  • http://orthodoxmothersdigest.blogspot.com Monica

    We make Easter baskets that are full of symbolic treats (like eggs, which represent new life, and butter in the shape of a lamb, which represents Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for us, and so on. This post has 3 or 4 links to different sites that explain all the symbolism of a “Pascha Basket”: http://orthodoxmothersdigest.blogspot.com/2009/04/pascha-baskets.html
    In the week leading up to Easter (Holy Week) we have a service of Healing on Wednesday night. (prayers for spiritual and physical healing)
    Thursday night all the Gospel passages that describe Christ’s passion are read, and a life-size wooden 2-d icon of Christ is nailed to a large cross.
    Friday morning we decorate a “tomb” in which we’ll lay a tapestry depicting Christ being prepare for burial. Here are pictures: http://orthodoxmothersdigest.blogspot.com/2008/04/learning-new-liturgical-skills.html
    Friday night our Church service is a Funeral Service for our Lord Jesus, and includes many sad Lamentation hymns, but also foreshadows the hope that is to come.
    Saturday night is a candle-lit midnight service – We sing “Christ is Risen” at least a hundred times. This is where those Pascha Baskets come in.
    Sunday is an Agape Vespers service, in which the gospel is read in as many languages as there are people in the church to read them (because Christ’s Resurrection is for all the world!), followed by a Feast Picnic.
    This cycle of Holy Week services is done in every Orthodox Church around the whole world every year.
    May God bless your Easter,
    Monica

  • http://hoperoadblog.com Anna

    Last year I got married the day before Easter. Sadly, all of the preparation and excitement distracted me from Holy Week. I am looking forward to giving more time and attention to it this year.

  • http://www.evenifiambeingpoured.blogspot.com Emily

    My favorite Passion celebration is on Good Friday morning, when my husband takes off from work and we make pancakes in the shape of lambs (pancake molds I got from Williams Sonoma with my wedding money 10 years ago–wow), sprinkle them with strawberries cut in hearts (when cutting off the green top, cut in a ‘v’ shape down into the strawberry; then turn and slice crosswise across the berry with the ‘v’ at the top to get several heart-shaped slices). My husband then reads from Isaiah 53 before breakfast. I get shivers up and down my back each time I cut that lamb-pancake up. FOR MY SINS… So humbling.

  • Coral

    I have very small children. We read stories and talk about what Jesus did and why we have Easter. We also do Resurrection Eggs – 12 plastic eggs that you open in order that tell the story of Jesus. You can buy them, but I made ours.

  • http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com gitz

    Ann, this was wonderful! I was so blessed to grow up in a home that paid attention to the preparation, not just the day. Sometimes, with it just being me here, I let that slack… thanks for the extra push :)

  • http://www.awomanamanandaminivan.blogspot.com Tara

    This is the first year we are celebrating the entire Passion Week and I’m so excited. I love the suggestions you have listed and am thinking about incorporating one or two in my busy list for this year. Thanks for sharing.
    (I posted a list of what all we are doing if you are interested.)
    http://awomanamanandaminivan.blogspot.com/2010/03/so-much-to-celebrate.html

  • http://www.makingtimeformommy.com Alicia

    Wonderful ideas! I love the repentance box and want to implement it with my family.

  • http://theinspiredroom.net melissa @ the inspired room

    Ann, your precious heart and creativity always inspire me! We are working on creative ideas for our church and you have given us fresh directions to incorporate! Thank you, and many blessings to you and your family!
    Melissa

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  • joao coelho

    I read the five points they are really beautiful. thanks

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  • chrissma

    I love your easter eggs. Can you give a tutorial, how to paint and prepare an easter egg like that… thank you so much ^_^

  • http://kaiacalhoun.wordpress.com Kaia Calhoun

    Some great ideas! I’m excited to try a couple this year maybe :)

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