Sunday, March 24, 2013

Preparing For Easter

It's hard to believe today is Palm Sunday and Easter is only one week away. It still very much feels like winter here, but as I learned during my time in Africa, we Americans associate holidays entirely too much with the weather!

This past Thanksgiving and Christmas  I wanted to become more intentional about instilling tradition in my daughter and helping our family prepare for the holidays while focusing our hearts toward the reason for the holiday. I think it's even more important with chronic illness to ensure our focus is on Christ as the daily struggles of pain and disability can drag us down. When you feel so bad you can't get out of bed and partake in the celebrations it's easy to become cynical about holidays. It often doesn't feel like we have much to celebrate. But at Easter we celebrate the most important event in history--our Savior, Jesus, paid the penalty for our sins and rose from the dead so that we can have hope for this life and more importantly for the life to come; a life without suffering that will never end!

This year we have found several ways to focus on the Easter celebration with our daughter, who is 3.5 years old. Including this 40 day devotional and this 28 day devotional that our church provided each family with children for free this year.  But my favorite is the felt banner by heart FELT truths.  I made my own Christmas Advent Felt Calendar using the FREE instructions/printable from heart FELT truths, but I ordered the Easter Banner DIY Kit this year to save time.

This Banner has daily devotional readings from Palm Sunday to Easter and each day my daughter can put one or two felt pieces on the board that correspond with the passage of scripture. It is a really well made product and my daughter is super excited about it. She keeps asking "where is Jesus?" I haven't told her yet about the actual nails she will put in the cross and Jesus' "body" that will be placed in the tomb on Good Friday (pictured below in the open tomb).

On Good Friday a black piece of fabric is pulled over the banner.And then on Easter Sunday, Jesus' "body" is removed from the tomb and my daughter will wake up to this....

If you have a few minutes and some felt and craft glue you can make a banner like this yourself (even without the fancy tomb/dowel rod, kids will think it's great!), thanks to heart FELT truths' FREE symbols/instructions that can be downloaded from their website. But if that seems overwhelming, check out my friend, Suzanne Shares, where she gives another great "last minute" idea, Resurrection eggs, and even a link to a DIY option.

Maybe you're not a parent, or even if you are, I still encourage you to spend time preparing your own heart for Easter. Desiring God has a great FREE ebook for Holy Week and you can even find it on the YouVersion Bible app.

No matter how bad your circumstances are or how deep your hurt may be, you can find joy in the one who came to one day wipe away every tear and give us a hope and a future!

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

How are you and your family preparing for Easter this year?

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