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    I rejoiced when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!'

15 Ways to Observe Holy Week with Your Family

 

Traditions -- especially those children can see, hear, feel, smell and taste -- provide vivid

impressions on which parents can build year after year.  There are many which will enrich

your own family’s celebration of what might be more accurately called Resurrection Day.

Choose a few from this collection, share their meaning in whatever words your children will

understand, and keep the ones you like as part of your family’s Easter heritage.

 

Holy Week

1) Resurrection Eggs (TM) : An egg carton filled with a dozen plastic eggs, each containing a

symbol of the Holy Week. Accompanied by twelve brief child-friendly lessons.

 

2) Palm Sunday: If your church doesn’t make much of Palm Sunday, you might consider just

once attending one that does. For an in-home celebration, read Matthew 2:1-11 together.  If

you have a large family or a few friends, you can put together costumes and act out Jesus’

arrival in Jerusalem.

 

3) Seeds: Seeds offer a clear message to children of the power of new life. Rest eggshell halves

filled with soil in egg carton. Plant a marigold, petunia, or grapefruit seed in each (or even grass

seed for fastest results).  Place in sunny window.

 

4) Art Museums: The Passion of Christ is the most-portrayed subject of Western artists.  If you

live in a metropolitan area, a visit to your local art museum may give your family much to

ponder.

 

5) Housecleaning: Wednesday of Holy Week has been a traditional day in many countries for

housecleaning -- from the Jewish custom of cleaning before Passover.

 

6) Passover: Each year more Christians are drawn to celebrate Passover, the feast

commemorating the departure of the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 12).  Jesus had come to

Jerusalem to celebrate and was actually crucified on Passover Day.  He is the fulfillment of this

tradition, as our own Passover Lamb. For more information on connecting the Old and New

Testaments in this way.

 

7) Foot Washing: This Maundy Thursday event speaks volumes about Jesus’s desire for us to

serve. Read John 13. Wrap a towel around your waist, as Jesus did, and wash your children’s

feet. Your lives might never be the same.

 

Good Friday

8) Three Hours: Observe Jesus’ crucifixion by reading the Biblical account together. Sing old

hymns of the Crucifixion and the Cross: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” “The

Old Rugged Cross,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” Most Catholic churches offer Stations

of the Cross, fourteen plaques circling the interior walls which depict the final hours of Jesus’

life. You may want to visit and contemplate these, one by one.

 

9)  Hot Cross Buns: Traditional Good Friday fare for the family to make and eat together.

Saturday of Holy Week

 

10) The Passion: Watch Mel Gibson’s portrayal of Jesus’s last hours with older children

(warning: graphic but realistic violence).  If your children are younger,  If your children are

younger, watch the Jesus Film Project's beautifully-crafted evangelical movie, scripted only with

words from the Gospel of Luke.

 

Easter Sunday

11) Easter Greeting: Greet each other with “Alleluia, the Lord is risen!” and answer “He is risen

indeed!”

 

12) Sunrise Service: Attend one offered by a church, or climb a hill with your family, worship

together, and share a picnic breakfast.

 

13) Special music: Listen together to Sandi Patti’s moving “Was it a Morning Like This?” Listen

again. Discuss how it must have felt to see our risen Lord.  Was anyone who saw him ever the

same?  Jesus said those who believe without having seen are blessed (John 20:29).

 

14) New clothes: New converts were traditionally baptized at Easter, wearing new white

garments to symbolize their new life.  If your family has new Easter outfits, share with your

children where this tradition came from.

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