Photo Caption: Egg dying is a family affair.
It’s almost Easter and most likely, you are thinking about what your plans will be this Easter. Are you having family over or perhaps traveling to see family? Are you taking your kids to an Easter Egg Hunt? Is your family planning on attending church together? Maybe you are alone this year, far away from family and friends and Easter seems like just another day or maybe life is just way too busy – so busy that you’ve hardly had time to think about it. Wherever you find yourself this Easter, you are not alone. Jesus is with you.
Jesus came to earth because He loves you. Yes, He really does. God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth because He loved the world, that means you too. He loved the world so much that He wanted to rescue us from sin. He wanted to forgive us and make a way for us to be in relationship with Him, so He sent His only Son, Jesus. Yet Jesus came willingly. He agreed to the Father’s plan because He truly loves you and because He truly loves you, He died for you. He took the punishment that we rightly deserved because we messed up. We went our own way instead of God’s way. We got lost and our relationship with God was damaged. But Jesus rescued us by dying for us on the cross. That story is beautiful even if it ended there, but it didn’t.
The beauty of Easter though, is that it doesn’t end in death, rather it ends in victorious new life. Jesus not only died in our place, He rose again conquering death and sin. He rose again offering us new life, new relationship with God, and friendship that never grows old or disintegrates, a friendship that last forever. He offered to be with us always. All we have to do is say, “Yes!” to Him and welcome Him into our lives.
Those of you who have already acknowledged Jesus as your Savior and Lord, may still be feeling a little sad and not quite yourself as you face Easter. Easter maybe stressful this year or as I mentioned earlier, you may have lost some family members this year and be spending Easter alone. I too, have been through Easters like that where things were just different, not quite what I hope for expected. Here’s a tiny suggestion to bring new life and celebration into Easter, find someone else who is feeling a little stressed, lost or alone, then be a friend. Invite them to church with you. Take a moment to celebrate Jesus; to remember what He did for you and celebrate that He truly is alive. I think the women at the tomb would agree that the best part about Easter was the joy in knowing that Jesus is alive and then sharing that good news with others.
I invite you to come and ponder with me the Easter story. Look into the tomb where they laid Jesus after He died. Imagine with me all that Jesus went through to buy our redemption. Imagine the fear the women felt upon seeing the angel and then the joy of the words they heard, The joy that they had nothing to fear because Jesus is alive. Look inside the empty tomb with the women. Come and see, then go and tell. Tell your family, your kids, your grandkids, friends, a neighbor or someone who is hurting this Easter. Your joy will be doubled because you dared to share the best news ever.
Sharing doesn’t have to be hard. A simple conversation about what Jesus means to you, an invitation to church or even meeting for coffee and a prayer; these are all ways of opening a conversation and sharing your friend, Jesus with someone. Let’s stop long enough this week to talk and share Jesus. A simple conversation is a good way to share good news, to help support someone if they have bad news and to simply be a friend. Ask God to help you listen for opportunities to share the good news that Jesus truly is alive. I know He will if we ask Him to. So let’s once again, pause long enough to come and see what Jesus has done and then go and tell the amazing story. Jesus is alive!
Because you are alive, I can talk to you everyday, any time and anywhere and I know that you hear me. I want more opportunities to talk to others about you. Whether those opportunities are times to pray, listen or share good news, give me eyes to see those moments when they occur. Show me ways to incorporate your love and what you have done into my everyday conversations. Fill me with your exuberant joy, so that others will see you and find hope. I want to spend time in conversation with you and then from there, share good news with others too. Thank you for what you have done for me. I am so glad that you are alive! Amen
EASTER WEEK IDEAS
* Monday: Cozy up and watch the Bible Ap for Kids videos – “A Goodbye Meal”, “In The Garden” “It Is Finished” and “A Happy Sunday” on your I-phone Ap or on You Tube. Read the Easter story from a simple Children’s Bible.
* Tuesday – Pretend to have a special meal (or snack) with Jesus just like His disciples did. If you would like, you can even trace around your child’s foot with a marker and then squirt some shaving cream on the paper so your child can pretend to wash feet.
* Wednesday – Decorate a paper cross with tissue paper or other decorations.
* Thursday – Make some egg shakers with plastic eggs and rice, beans or jelly beans. Then listen to some praise music and shake along with the beat.
* Friday – Gather your family decorate and dye those Easter eggs. If you cover your table with a plastic tablecloth, you will minimize some of the mess.
* Saturday – Find a church or community Egg Hunt for your child to participate in.
* Sunday – Do go to church as a family. Many churches have special, fun activities for the kids on Easter Sunday. Celebrate that Jesus is alive!
STORY: Jesus Is Alive – Matthew 28, Mark 16
Explain that a tomb is kind of like a cave.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to the world as a tiny baby because He loved us. When Jesus grew up, He died on a cross to rescue us from sin – our wrong choices. He died to rescue us and forgive us. Now He is alive and wants to be our forever friend. After Jesus died, something very wonderful happened and that is why we celebrate Easter. Let’s look into our Bible and find out what happened on that very first Easter Day.
Very early in the morning some women, who were friends of Jesus, decided to go to His tomb. “Let’s go to the tomb,” they said, “we can put some good smelling spices on Jesus body.” The women walked (Walk, walk, walk.) to the tomb wondering how they would roll the big rock away from the opening. They were very sad that their friend, Jesus had died. (Show sad face.) When they got to the tomb, they could hardly believe their eyes.
(Look surprised!) “Look! The big rock has been rolled away! I wonder who rolled the rock away?“ they wondered. Then they saw something even more amazing. There was a bright, shining angel sitting on the rock! The women were scared. (Cover eyes, show frightened face.) They had never seen an angel before.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, but Jesus isn’t here. He is alive!” (Shout together, “Jesus is alive!”) Jesus wasn’t in the tomb because He had risen. He had come back to life. That’s so amazing! Only Jesus could do that. “Come and see!“ said the angel. The women did. They went into the tomb and saw that Jesus was not there. They were so happy and excited.
“He’s alive! Jesus is alive! Let’s hurry to tell His friends. Jesus is really alive!” they said. (Shout together, “Jesus is alive!”) And that’s just what they did. They hurried to tell Jesus’ friends. On the way they saw Jesus too.
Jesus is alive. He wants to be your forever friend. Even though you can’t see Jesus, He is very much alive. He loves you and will always be with you. You can talk to Him any time you want because He is alive! Let’s thank Him for being such a good special friend.
MEMORIZE: Matt. 28:6 ERV (Hands open like holding a book.)
Jesus – (Touch fingers of one hand to palm of the other and vice versa.)
Is not here – (Put fists together like a tomb.)
He has risen from death. – (Wiggling fingers, raise upwards.)
I’m so glad that you love me and want to be my forever friend. Thank you that you died on the cross to rescue and forgive me. I’m glad that you didn’t stay dead, but that you rose from the dead and that you are alive. I can talk to you any time and I know that you will hear me. I love you Jesus. Amen
KNOW: Jesus is alive!
TALK ABOUT: Easter, Jesus will always be with me.
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus wants to be my forever friend.
AND DO… Celebrate that Jesus is alive!
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Look for signs of new life or spring. When you see a crocus blooming or trees that are budding, say, “Thank you, Jesus, that you are alive and always with me.”
- Answer this question as a family, “What’s amazing about your friend, Jesus?” Celebrate and give thanks because Jesus is alive.