I awoke this morning to the rumblings of a thunder storm and the excitement of a day in our jammies; the first day of Spring Break! As I think about our upcoming week, I commit to making this not just another Spring Break because it isn’t. This is a week in which we remember Christ’s suffering on a cross and His resurrection.
Jesus knew it was His last week on earth.
If you knew it was yours, what would you do?
Doesn’t it make you want to read the scriptures of that final week to see what Jesus did? I’ve been rereading Max Lucado’s book called “The Final Week of Jesus” which walks you through just that.
So this is my challenge, how can I prepare my heart and home to receive, and see clearly, all God wants to teach us this week? I have planned a different activity for each day of this Holy week. Today we start.
DAY 1 – Crown of Thorns
“The soldiers wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. “Matthew 27:29 “They mocked him and spit on him”.
When I think of a crown of thorns, I like to imagine it differently. I don’t like to think about the blood dripping down Christ’s cheeks or the piercing sensation of constant pain.
I ask “What it means to suffer at school? Has anybody ever spit on you, hit you, insulted you?” How did you feel? Why did Jesus have to suffer?
We pull up grass from the ground and weave it together into a crown. We pierce it with our sin, toothpicks. The kids are both eager and reluctant to put on the crown.
A few minutes later, Campbell hurts his elbow. He comes to me sprinting. There was nothing I could do, but he wanted me to know his suffering.
We are each going to experience periods of suffering. I take comfort knowing that God knows my human suffering first hand.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all of my tears in a bottle and recorded them.” Psalm 56:8
DAY 2 – Palm Frond Crosses
It’s Palm Sunday, a special day in our home because it is the source of our son’s namesake. When I was pregnant with my 3rd, with no agreed upon baby name, Lily came home from school waving a palm frond. She explained that the people waving palm fronds as Christ entered Jerusalem were called “palmers”. I went into labor on Easter and our Palmer was born the next day.
Today we are making crosses out of palm fronds. Now I do feel compelled to tell you that Palmer thought the crosses were more fun as guns. Bang Bang. Here is a great tutorial:
How to Make a Palm Frond Cross Tutorial:
Day 3 – Simplify
I was inspired by an idea on Pinterest this morning called “Get rid of 100 things this weekend”. Yes! Simplify our surroundings. Clear the clutter so that we can breathe…think…hear. This is where our family is starting; a practical exercise in simplifying.
I explain to my crew that God desires to be seen by us. He wants to be heard but sometimes our crowded and cluttered lives distract us from His voice.
We discuss the idea of simplifying; cutting back the stuff to make more room for God. I propose the challenge.
Can we each find 100 things to give away? It can be clothes, toys, books, toiletries. We set up bins for donations, consignment and garbage. We crank the music and begin.
Day 4 – Beauty for Ashes
About a month ago the forest immediately behind our home caught on fire. We watched as the fire moved from hundreds of yards away onto our property. As it crossed over our brick wall, I was advised to grab what I could. A reverse wind came blowing the flames in the other directions permitting just enough time for the firemen to push it back. For a week the tall pine trees sizzled and smoke filled our home, but we were thankful.
For today’s project, my husband and children hopped the brick wall towards the burnt remains. They found the perfect logs.
With rope and humility, Jimmy ties the ash stricken trunks together. The mid-afternoon sky turns black. The skies thunder and gusts of wind begin blowing. We all race inside later learning tornadoes were passing over our area.
We talk about the parallel between our afternoon and that Friday in Jerusalem so many years ago when the skies turn black and the earth shook as Christ died. This cross, made from the ashy wood which absorbed the fire that could have destroyed our home, is now a physical representation of not only God’s sovereignty over our family but the freedom to live because we are not bound by our sin.
|“He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory”. Isaiah 61:3
5. Resurrection Eggs
This activity came from my children’s school. In an empty egg carton, place 12 plastic eggs. Within each plastic egg, put a symbol about the Biblical story of Easter.
The 12 symbols are:
- cracker = last meal of Jesus with the disciples
- dime = Judas betraying Jesus with silver coins
- purple cloth = they mocked him by dressing him in the royal color.
- toothpick = crown of thorns
- cross = carried his own cross
- nail = He was nailed to the cross.
- sponge/spear (drink sword)= a sponge filled with vinegar was attached to a spear and given to Jesus to drink
- dice = The guards threw dice to gamble for Jesus’s clothes.
- small piece of white material/or cloves = Jesus’s body was wrapped in spices and white cloth when he was placed in the tomb
- rock = to cover the opening to the tomb to prevent Jesus’s body from being stolen.
- Empty Egg – the resurrection egg. Empty because the tomb is empty.
6. Washing Feet
After reading the Passover Story in the Bible, my children decided to “Wash the Feet” of a beloved teacher as modeled by Jesus during the Last Supper. Read that experience here. This is quite a powerful activity, particularly for the person receiving the washing.
7. Colors of Christ Easter Egg Dying Printable
I just found this printable over at Detail-Oriented Diva and loved the idea of using the egg colors as a spiritual lesson. As you dye your Easter eggs, use this chart to talk through the “colors” of Easter. You can print it over here.
May your Holy Week prepare your hearts for the celebration of Easter.
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