Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Simply Easter

The way holidays are celebrated in our culture is getting quite ridiculous. From the bombardment of advertising in everything we see and hear, to the pressure of measuring up to our Pinterest perfect friends, to our cultural obsession with excess and over-the-top E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. It's stressful. It's expensive. It's exhausting. And in the end, it's fruitless.

What if I told you that my holidays are easy, cheap, relaxing and fulfilling?

Let's go back to the basics. Here's the definition of a holiday: a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. Is that what your holidays feel like?  While we're stressing out to make our Jesus holidays super-amazing-awesomer-than-has-ever-been-done-before, Jesus says this...
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30

I like His style. So I'm following it. It's simple ya'll, strip it all down to the core- Jesus.

We see a holiday and apparently it's in our nature to add to it, make it bigger and better, always fighting to outdo ourselves and not be outdone by our neighbors.

But a fair warning:  when we begin to add anything to Jesus, well, is it still Jesus we're worshipping and celebrating?  Is He not fun enough? Cool enough?  Magical enough?

The Jesus of the Bible loves kids. He said we should all have the faith of little children. Now that's fun!
"But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:16-17
The Jesus of the Bible was a rebel.  He turned the social norm upside down, tossing tables, eating with sinners and fighting for the outcasts of society.  That's pretty cool.
"And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons." Matthew 21:12
And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him." Mark 2:15
 "And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”" John 8:7
The Jesus of the Bible performed miracle after miracle and defeated death. That's better than any magic trick! It's miraculous, and it's a gift to be celebrated.
 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16-17
Perhaps the real issue we have, the reason we want to add so much to Jesus, is because we don't know Him as well as we should. He is enough. Just Jesus.

I'm not claiming to have it all figured out. I screw up every single day, usually hourly. But I've seen the change in my family and myself as we've simplified things and made much of Jesus. My girls are only two years old, but they know who Jesus is and love reading His stories. He is exciting to them. We get excited about Jesus, so our kids do, too. They learn from our example. So we have to ask ourselves: What is our example teaching them?

Our Easter was beautifully simple this year.

We woke up and untaped our oven to eat our resurrection cookies. They were super easy and quick to make. (Even this non-cook here had all the ingredients already in her pantry!) A very cool idea, but with the girls so young we just simplified it to taping the oven, then unsealing it in the morning and eating our empty tomb cookies. Here's the recipe and script that I found.

We got ready, and went to church.  Eriek and I served in the service following the one we attended, while my parents took the kids home for lunch and quality time.

After naps, we hunted eggs. Although Zoe loved finding them, she kept giving them to Arella, who gladly accepted the extras.

But when we opened the eggs, we used this great idea for resurrection eggs for toddlers.

In the first egg, place a bread crumb.  We used a Wheat Thin.
Jesus ate dinner with his friends.  Luke 22:14-15
In the second egg, place a cross (we just used stickers we had).
The next day Jesus died on the cross.  John 19:17-18
In the third egg, place a strip of cloth (we used a piece of tissue).
He was wrapped in cloth and placed in a tomb.  John 19:40
For the fourth egg, go outside and pick out the coolest rock you can find.
A stone was placed in front of the tomb.  Matthew 27:59-60

Leave the fifth egg empty.
Jesus’ friends came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved.
The tomb was empty!  Luke 24:1-3

Fill the sixth and final egg with a sweet treat (we used M&Ms).
Jesus is alive!  That’s the sweet surprise of Easter.  Matthew 28:5-6
Ya'll I spent less than $5, including the baskets I bought last year for $1 each.  It took 5 minutes to put together, well, once I got those plastic eggs opened. And the girls LOVED it and were excited to see and hear what was in the next egg. My mom threw one of our favorite crockpot recipes together, and we all had a fun, laid back, easy dinner enjoying each other.

Even two days later, Arella was pointing out Jesus' empty tomb in her Bibles, and Zoe drew a circle and told me happily it was a rock.  When I asked her if that was the rock rolled away from Jesus' tomb, she got very excited and said, "Yes it is!"
We don't have to dress up Jesus. He is ENOUGH.


  1. I LOVED your resurrection eggs! :-) Happy Easter!

  2. Thanks for the AWESOME idea Happy Home Fairy! My girls loved it and it provided us so many great talking points at their level :)