Lent with ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’: holy week

So, we’ve made it through lent right to holy week, and now we set out again walking in the footsteps of the events of that week, tracing the events with our remembrance and letting the reality and significance of them come alive in our hearts afresh as the Holy Spirit leads us into the story and we meet with risen Jesus.

Since I was little I have been led through this week by my parents. They shaped our holy week, setting in place a pattern, a rhythm of remembrance that caught up our actions, our feelings and thoughts. The noise and celebration of Palm Sunday all gathered together with the church family, bursting out of the church building into the streets. The family togetherness of Maundy Thursday and the sense of shock as we stood at a distance and, with the eyes of our hearts watched Jesus and his disciples in the garden. The somber, heavy quiet of the remembrance of Good Friday. The quiet, long wait of Saturday (which was unusually quiet in our home, a large musical family!). And waking up to the joy and relief of Easter Sunday, gathering early with the church family to eat together and shout out our praises in song, then back home to sunshine, laughter and celebration!

There was a ‘set aside-ness’ to the week as I grew up. It was unlike any other week. Ordinary things, like music and dancing, the radio, the TV, our toys, meeting up with friends, the topics of conversation – all learnt to fit into the shape of this week, guided by parents setting boundaries and encouraging or discouraging particular activities.  Partly because of my parent’s ministry, my Dad the Pastor of our local church, it was the events of Holy week that shaped our week not our week happening as usual with some extra church events fitted in. I’m glad of that, even if perhaps sometimes I wasn’t at the time!


How can I bring my children along with me as I walk this week?

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hands on!

I have spent an afternoon making and shaping salt-dough holding crosses (and of course some hanging Easter decorations too). We had fun rolling, shaping – seeing them before and after drying out, and then painting them. I found a recipe and instructions on how to dry it out using a microwave here at Rainy Day Mum, and so the whole process could be completed in one go.

I am planning that these holding crosses can be carried with us this week. Their tactile presence will bring our thoughts back to the significance of the week, the heart of the story. We also left church yesterday with Palm crosses, not pocket sized but definitely out and about in our home this week as a visual prompt.

Our activities this week will enable an opportunity to be drawn into the story. Some will be challenging, but for this week we have shaped life this way since they were little – leading messianic Passover meals with baby on our knees and the travel cot at the ready behind us! We join in as much as possible, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Easter Sunday (though I have yet to help our children all join in the dawn service!).


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wondering and chatting

Throughout I hope to talk with my children about what these events mean to me. What they remind me of, why that story matters to me, what I see in Jesus as I am drawn into the story again and meet him.

I hope to encourage them also to enter into the story, teaching them the difference between literal seeing and hearing and seeing with the eyes and hearing with the ears of our heart – our faith eyes and ears if you like. Those eyes and ears that are alert in prayerful imagination. When we listen to the story inviting the Holy Spirit to guide us, showing us how we are part of the story, enabling us to meet Jesus there in our imagination.

I hope to stay expectant myself! Not simply achieving and getting through the events of this week, but entering in expecting each event to be a place of encounter with God, an opportunity for growing in faith, growing in closeness to God, growing in understanding.

I want to ask the question that faced Phoebe at the end of the book. What does a Phoebe thank you to Jesus look like? What does a T, an A or a B thank you look like this year?


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time to read

Reading the part of ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ where Phoebe chats with Asher right through to where she is sleepily chatting with Mummy as she is tucked up in bed.

There is also an opportunity to read the Bible accounts of the events of this week, taking it one small bit at a time. This year I will use the Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones.

 

 

Lent 6 with ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’: Love

‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ follows Phoebe as she reluctantly tries to discover what Good Friday is all about, why it could possibly be good. The last person she chats with, her big brother, tells her about Jesus looking with love from the cross at John & his mother, making sure they would be there for each other. It is a moment of great love. Jesus who has revealed his servant heart at the last supper, and his costly willingness to go the way of the cross in the garden now speaks words to comfort even whilst enduring the intense agony and desolation of the cross.

The cross is an outpouring of love, an act of selfless love to reach us – His children, lost and alone, broken by our separation from God.

And we can see that it was while we were powerless to help ourselves that Christ died for sinful men. In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8 Philips)

 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. (Eph 2:1-6 MSG)


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hands on

I am going to encourage us as a family this week to find a way of giving someone an Act of Random Kindness.

I want us to enjoy the thinking, and planning, and to wonder in anticipation how it might encourage that person and surprise them.

The kindness bingo game sheet on the Random Acts of Kindness website has some good ideas.


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wondering and chatting

Some of the ideas can be done with little cost and effort, others will take more. which did we choose & why?

Talk together about what loving kindness can look like, how it feels to give it, how it feels to accept it from someone else.

Wonder together what Jesus’ loving kindness looks like.


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time to read

Read the last section of ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’, where Phoebe chats with her brother.

Then if there is an opportunity to look up John 19:25-27 read those few verses about the moment when Jesus spoke to John and his mother from the cross.

Lent 5 with’My Easter Egg Hunt’: 5. Rescuer

Lots of the stories we love have rescuers, heroes who come and save the day. When A was little he loved the superheroes, and we had quite a few little figures that he carried around with him and played rescuing with. T now has the ones we kept, and still the stories of rescue get played out. When we go to my Mum’s holiday flat, we always get a pack of those little boxes of breakfast cereal, and without fail once they are eaten these boxes get carefully peeled apart, turned inside out & glued back together (by me!) ready to become houses or blocks of flats to become scenes for just this kind of play…

But we are not at the flat! (and we are creatures of habit) So this week we will be veg printing a city scene instead…


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chatting and wondering

I want to talk together about Jesus coming because we needed rescuing.

I want to wonder together about Jesus being like a superhero.

I want to ask questions together about the rescue…

 


 

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time to read

In ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ read about Phoebe’s visit to Ah Li’s house, and find out about the Passover rescue and how that helps us understand why Good Friday is good!

Also this week, find the story of Moses and the first Passover night in a children’s Bible to read.

 

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Lent 4 with ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’: washed clean


 

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hands on

One of the games mine have always loved as the weather gets that little bit warmer is taking a bundle of dolls clothes, or teddy clothes out into the garden with a generous bowl of warm soapy water to wash them.

 

We use some little toy shopping baskets instead of the big washing basket, and I let them take out my small basket of pegs ready to hang everything out to dry.

With dolls watching patiently in their prams and pushchairs, and a handy cup of tea at the ready for me, this can turn into quite a lovely play time!

Mine love the sensory input of the water, and the bowl is easy to opt out of as and when they need to if it gets too much. I have a towel at the ready, there is usually a lot of in and out of the water.20170219_124528


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wondering and chatting

I wanted to chat together as we played, to notice the changing colour of the water as the dirt came out of the clothes, and to talk about how the clothes are much cleaner when they have been washed.

  • how do we keep our clothes clean? How do we keep our hands and bodies clean?
  • what can we do to keep our ‘heart’ (our thinking, our feelings, our choices; the things that we do & think that make us who we really are) ‘clean’ (tidy and good enough to be with God)? Does our ‘heart’ need ‘cleaning’?

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We always need to take lots of time and care using picture language together (our hearts needing cleaning). I still choose to use it and take the time needed because the Bible uses this language to give us glimpses into things that are so beyond our logical explanations and our imaginations that we need the pictures!

Both T & B love learning the technical terms for the different times we use language in a non-literal way.  Metaphors (when something or someone is described as if it is something else because that helps us see things in a new way) , similies (when the sentence uses a comparison to show what something or someone is like – these don’t mean that the something or someone is exactly the same as what it is being compared with but some of the things that are the same help us understand the something or someone better) , idioms (a phrase that lots of people use knowing that it is not meant literally; the phrase might have begun being used for different reasons, like an event a community all know about, or a well known person’s way of doing things, or because of a rhyme or song that everyone knew. Idioms are more often than not a bit random, and my girls simply learn the cultural meanings as we come across each new phrase). 

Knowing the terms has helped us approach new phrases because they give these odd and difficult phrases a structured box to safely sit in to be looked at and explored. As soon as we say, ‘it’s a metaphor’ now there is a response that shows me that there is a willingness to try to understand the phrase and what might be meant (even if there may never be an understanding of WHY someone would choose to use language that way!!). ps… this is all a work in progress!

 


 

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ready to read

In ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ read about Phoebe and her Mum stopping for lunch, and finding out that Jesus makes us clean inside and out so we can talk with God.

 

 

 

Lent 3 with ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’: the winner


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hands on

Sports Days with school are, on the whole, proving quite tricky and stressful for mine each year, they are just so outside the normal routine. However, I’m hoping we can have some fun this week having a few silly sports day competitions of our own – just us, in our garden.

I’m thinking egg & spoon race; biggest number of dolls & teddies that can be successfully pushed in a dolls pram or even a wheelbarrow over a certain distance; carrying water from one bucket to another – see who can transfer the most water in a set time; rolling a ball along the floor towards a target, see who gets their ball the closest; ‘balancing’along a skipping rope on the ground..who is the fastest or who can get the furthest without ‘falling off’…. nothing too serious, and I want to make sure there will be something for everyone to feel good at.

What would yours enjoy?  What challenge would they be great at?

I have designed some medals to make together too, just print colour and cut out, then add some ribbon or wool onto the back with tape.

mini-sports-day-medals

free printable HERE


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wondering

Competitions naturally give an opportunity to talk together about winning and losing, and all the feelings that come with them. I’m sure that losing or not winning a challenge isn’t easy at all for mine! It also gives an opportunity to praise different strengths and abilities, and a reminder we are all limited too.

 

  • what does it feel like to be the winner?
  • does it matter when we lose in a competition like this?

I want to introduce the idea that the story of Easter involves winning, but winning more than a competition, more like winning an important battle. A battle that we aren’t able to win at all. But Jesus could.


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ready to read

Read the visit to Harry’s house in ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’.

When Phoebe meets Harry, they talk together about what kind of battle Jesus fought for us and what it means to Harry that Jesus won.

Wonder together what it means for us…

 

Lent 2 with ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’: impossible


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hands on

We are gathering together some plant pots, some soil and a few bulbs this week. We’re going to get messy, and plant them, one each. Then we can watch them begin to grow throughout lent and on beyond Easter.

I have made some printable sleeves to colour, cut out & wrap around the pots.

We love planting for Easter, watching something grow is like a parable of new life unfolding in front of you each day. In fact we have always given seeds to ours instead of chocolate eggs… each of them has a bespoke (lovely word for DIY!) decoupage egg that their seeds get put in each year, and then they are tied with a pretty ribbon. They get plenty of chocolate eggs from relatives!

easter-plant-pot-sleeves

free printable HERE

 


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ready to read

Read about Phoebe visiting her Granny in ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’. Phoebe discovers that when Granny was young she broke a plant pot in her Dad’s greenhouse, and they explore together how sometimes things that are broken are impossible for us to fix…

 

 


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    wonder together

    have you ever broken something?

  • how did it get mended?
  • Can you think of anything that can’t be mended when it is broken?
  • think about how nothing is impossible for God… think about how Jesus paid what it cost to mend what we have broken… think about how that feels.

 

Lent 1 with ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’: Easter gifts

 

What does the word ‘Lent’ mean for our children? What does it mean for us?

Sometimes it feels rather meaningless as a Mum with little ones, and all their needs, in tow. It’s the space between pancake day and Easter eggs! Perhaps thinking of it as space is quite helpful though; space to think, space to explore and play, space to run, space to get ready… ready to celebrate the amazing truths of the Easter story.

In reality it is, practically speaking, no more actual free time or space than usual. There are all the family demands and needs, all the usual lack of energy, sleep & time I can choose what to do with! But I’m determinedly  carving out a space in my thinking from now till Easter, to be intentional about making time & space for one activity & some chat each week (that’s all!) with my children & with God, about all that Good Friday, and Easter Sunday means.

So, as soon as pancakes have been enjoyed, I am planning to make some Easter gifts with my three…

Doesn’t sound hard – though I know it will be – & I know I’m going to have to keep telling myself I don’t need to beat myself up when it doesn’t happen!


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hands on!

Making Easter gifts

My three love making things; baking, painting, simple sewing & sticking, papier-mache, modelling clay, threading beads… What do yours like to do, what could be made to be wrapped as a present for someone for Easter?

I have drawn some Easter themed gift tags you can print out, colour & use.

easter-gift-tags

printable gift tags HERE


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wondering

Wondering together

  • what do we remember from Easter last year?
  • which parts of Easter do we like or dislike?
  • how do we feel about Easter?

 


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ready to read!

Reading & reflecting

Read the opening pages of ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’. Phoebe is making Easter gifts for friends and family. She is talking to her Mum about how she feels about Easter… does she feel the same as we do? Imagine what she might find out from Granny.