Setting aside a time each day this week to sit down as a family to study the bible has been an incredible experience. Not only do we feel closer to God as a family but our kids now understand the true meaning of Easter.
We didn’t really have a particular format that we followed. We simply opened our bible each evening to read a little bit about the events that transpired between Palm Sunday and Easter.
I am amazed by how much the children understand. I would encourage everyone to start reading the bible with your kids as early as possible. I thought our kids were too young to understand until I saw the tears rolling down my son’s cheeks while he listened to Jesus words to the disciples during the last supper.
Our four year old daughter, Alexandra prays so boldly now that she understands who she is addressing when she prays.
To prepare our hearts for Easter, these are the bible stories we read with our children:
We read the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday. We discussed why He rode on a donkey – to fulfill the prophesy (Zachariah 9:9) and we talked about how the people honored Jesus by laying down palm trees and their clothing for His donkey to tread on.
We looked for ways we could honor the Lord Jesus in our daily lives.
On Monday we read about Jesus losing His temper in the temple. We discussed the difference between anger and righteous anger so that the children understood why Jesus was angry. We talked about why it was wrong to have a market inside the temple – because it was a God’s holy place. We talked about showing respect for a holy place and we read 1 Corinthians 3:16 which says that our body is God’s holy place.
We created a holy place for God in our home.
We chose space in our home that was free from clutter and added some flowers and a candle. Alexandra added her most prized possession at the moment which is a pine cone that her brother gave her. She then asked if we could place all these objects on our “special” place mat.
We have a set of place mats that were gifted to us by my mother in- law when we moved into our first home together. They are white cloths with silver handcrafted embroidery and we only use them for very special occasions. In a way you could say that the place mats are sacred to us so it was fitting to use one for our holy place.
We declared this to be God’s holy place in our home and asked God to bless our home with His presence.
It is symbolic and a reminder for us of how much He loves us.
On Tuesday we read of the anointing at Bethany. We discussed why Jesus said that the woman did “a beautiful thing” and how she could not help herself and gave of her very best for Him.
After listening to this story Alexandra fetched a bottle of my most expensive perfume and proceeded to spray a bit of Elizabeth Arden’s Fifth Avenue on each one of us (even the boys). We felt very honored by this simple act as we were sure Jesus must have felt while He was being honored in this way.
On Wednesday we read about Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus. We tried as best we could to put it into context for the kids by discussing what betrayal meant. We explained how Jesus and His disciplines had a relationship like brothers because they spent all their time together.
We asked the children what it would take for them to betray their own family.
We had a box full of coins and counted out 10, 20, then 30 coins. Joshua and I said that no amount of money would ever make us betray our family. Alexandra caved in at 20 coins and gleefully declared that she had always wanted to be rich. She then recanted and said that she would never give up her daddy.
Ashley said that he would give up all of us for a new PlayStation with two new games! Joshua reminded him that once done playing he would be left with an empty home and Ashley replied that he would have a good sleep in all that blissful silence!
The Last Supper: Out of all our devotions this week, the last supper had the most impact on us all. It was so sad that Jesus alluded to knowing that it was His last night with His disciplines and that He said how glad He was for the opportunity to spend it with them.
We talked about how we would want to spend our last few hours.
We read the new covenant that Jesus made and His final instructions for us to love and serve one another as He has done. We read about how He washed the disciples “stinky” feet.
We then fetched a bucket of water and a towel and washed each others feet.
We learned that there is something very humbling about lowering yourself and joyfully serving someone in such a practical way. Not only is it a huge blessing for the person doing the serving but also it is quite powerful for the person on the receiving end.
My daughter and I had the opportunity to do this for another family member since then and it was an incredibly powerful experience. It honestly felt like we were washing the feet of our precious Lord Jesus Himself.
Friday we attended church in the morning for Good Friday and in the late afternoon we spent some time with family so we doubled our reading on the next evening.
We read about the trial, arrest and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
We thought about how much He suffered and why He went through with it.
We reflected on how, in the midst of His agony, He called out to God to forgive them.
How this holy week has blessed us
The running theme throughout our holy week has been the depth of God’s love for us. We are amazed and astounded at the huge sacrifice that Our Father made just to be able to have a relationship with each of us. We are reminded of why we call Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
There are no words to describe how humbled we are when we think about God’s great love for us all and the great sacrifice made by the Son of God on our behalf. Reflecting on this has made Jesus more real to us.
Do you observe holy week? How have you prepared your heart for Easter?