Spend time as a family making the special week before Easter meaningful. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday. These events start with a parade into Jerusalem and end with the death of Jesus, followed on Easter Sunday’s celebration of the resurrection. Help children understand the events with some of these special activities.
A Parade for Palm Sunday
Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. In Bible days, Kings rode donkeys in parades. People used palms, like flags, to wave and lay at His feet. They shouted, “Hosanna!” (That means O’Save). Read Matthew 21:1-1, about the triumphal entry into the holy city, in a child’s Bible such as Kids’ Devotional Bible (Zonderkidz, 1996). Parade with music that praises God. Shout Hosanna!
Preparations Early in the Week
Monday through Wednesday provide time to reflect on how Jesus knew told his followers that he had to die. Read John 12:23-28, and discuss how Jesus compared his dying to planting a seed. Plant some seeds this week, such as marigolds that sprout quickly.
Buy ingredients to use on Saturday evening, to make resurrection cookies. The ingredients and steps used to make them are reminders of this weeks events, such as beating the nuts as a reminder that soldiers beat Jesus. Something special will happen when they are baked the night before Easter that illustrates the resurrection.
Jesus gathered with His disciples to celebrate the Jewish feast of Passover with a Seder meal. Read John 13:1-12. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Let people wash the feet of one another and massage them with sweet smelling lotions.
This day celebrated the Jewish Passover when God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and protected their sons from the angel of death. Read Luke 22:7-20. Jesus gave people a new gift that some churches call communion and others call Eucharist. It was his last meal before he died, so it’s also called the Last Supper of the Lord’s Supper. At the meal Jesus held up the bread, blessed it and gave it to everyone, saying, “This is My body.” Break bread together and chat about what communion means.
Good is a strange word to use for the day Jesus died. It was sad, but good because when Jesus chose to die, he opened the gates of heaver for believers. Discuss how Jesus made a good choice to save believers. Read about the crucifixion, in John 19. Use cinnamon sticks and ribbon to make a sweet smelling cross. Hammer nails into a block of wood in the shape of a cross as a reminder that Jesus suffered.
Use the recipe looked up earlier in the week to prepare the resurrection cookies. Place cookies in the oven overnight as directed and explain the cookies will have a surprise in the morning. In the early churches this became the day new believers joined the church. Chat about what it means to belong to a church. Chat about Jesus’ death and hunt for signs of death, such as dead branches or flowers.
The first day of the week celebrates when Jesus won over death and rose! Rise up early, read John 20:1-18, and thank Jesus for rising to give people new life. Remove cookies from oven and see that they are empty inside, like the tomb. Hunt for signs of new life springing up, such as buds, leaves, bugs, and animals. Have children look in the mirror to see a special life God made.
Celebrate the week at home and at church services. On Easter, tell others, “Jesus Christ is risen.”