Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What is in your Easter Basket?

Having last posted the week of Christmas it seems fitting that I begin posting again the week of Easter.  It is my goal to become more than a "Christmas and Easter" blogger.  Are you asking the same questions I am today... "What do I put in my children's Easter baskets besides delicious, savory, chocolate bunnies that only come out once a year but will wreck my diet when they find their way into my mouth as I am filling said baskets"?     Pondering the chocolate bunny question may then lead to a deeper, more spiritual question, "How do I keep my children's minds focused on the Gospel message of Easter without taking away all of the fun?"

Our family has found a solution to the "fun" problem through the essence of this quote.    Outstanding children's literature can transport you to a time and place far removed from your own.

     I grew up in a Christian home thinking I understood the reality of Christ's crucifixion, the pain and the agony.    I accepted the message of salvation at the age of ten but not until I read "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare as an adult  did I truly understand the humiliation of his sacrifice. 

Opening the pages of this legendary masterpiece of children's literature lands you in the middle of the streets of Galilee and confronts you head on with the oppressive rule of the Roman government.  Philippians 2:8, "...he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!"  rings through your mind as you meet the main character, a young man consumed with hatred, rage and revenge against the Romans, a hatred fueled by the crucifixion of his father.   My love for Christ, my faith, a deeper understanding of  the enormity of the price He  paid for my sins grew one hundred fold after reading this book.

Another classic that brings the Easter story to life is, "Vinegar Boy" by Alberta Hawse.

 A child, one who wholeheartedly believes in the goodness, power and love of the Messiah,  clings to his hope for a miracle.    But will his miracle happen in time?

Believe me when I tell you these stories will grip you and not let you go until you reach the last page.  What better way to meditate on the Easter story than by being there?

My husband and 17 year old son aren't quite as excited as I am about read-alouds any longer but we have found other avenues to make the Easter story come alive.    We all have our favorite Christmas movies but Easter has its own share of unforgettable cinematography.

  "The Robe" is one our family enjoys watching every year, a 1953 classic story of the power of the cross.

And how could we ever forget Charleton Heston as Moses in the classic Classic, "The Ten Commandments"!

Traveling over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house (yeah that happens at Easter too) needn't keep you out of the loop.   Ben Hur is an intimidating,  that is to say... BIG book but the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre audio drama production is riveting, bringing the action and drama of Rome into your car as the miles whiz by.

If you are traveling with the younger crowd search for a radio station that is airing the Adventures in Odyssey Easter Imagination Station story  on April 2 & 3.

Hearing the Easter story anew through literature and drama stirs the smoldering embers of faith that can cool down from the winds of familiarity.    While eating those bunny ears and hiding those eggs join with your family to experience the time of Christ through story.

I would love to hear what literature and media have brought Easter to life for your family.  Please share some of your favorites in the comments below.