I’ll be doing a lengthier post next week on our family’s traditions and focus for celebrating Easter Sunday with the focus on the resurrection of Christ. But I couldn’t wait till then to share with you this devotional (intended to be read during the 4 weeks leading up to Easter Sunday — which I didn’t realize till it was about 2 1/2 weeks too late!).
I picked up this 67-page paperback, “Why Easter?” at a conference last summer at the Shepherd Press table. When I recovered it this week to evaluate my plans for her Easter basket, I realized I’m already way behind in the readings so I scratched Plan A and we began reading in it right away. After all, the point is to keep fresh in her mind the reason that we celebrate, and not just at Easter Sunday but every day, all year long, forever! We’re currently reading 2 days’ worth each day and more when we can to try to end on Easter Sunday.
I am loving this devotional and amazed at how it sparks deeper conversation later on in the day after she’s had time to think through it more. Each day’s reading is on one page with the facing page featuring a color illustration of the devotional for that day. First, it gives a passage of Scripture for you to turn to and read aloud from the gospels, starting with Lazarus (along with an overview of sin entering the world with Adam and Eve’s choice to disobey God, and the plan God has to restore His creation) and moving along through the Holy Week, all the way through crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and looking forward to Jesus’ return.
Next in the format are three or so short paragraphs, going into a broader explanation at an age-appropriate level. Each day has a “Truth” statement to help your child know what the Scripture teaches about God and His plan. Discussion questions are then included as well as a short passage or verse for memorization.
Lastly, the book provides the lyrics for all the verses of 4 hymns, one for each week (“When I Survey The Wondrous Cross,” “Man of Sorrows! What a Name,” “Up from the Grave He Arose,” and “Thine Be the Glory”) along with a discussion question for the song lyrics to ensure they understand what they are singing. Today’s reading showed the prophecy fulfilled from Zechariah 9:9, by which they could identify the Messiah-King, and asks why would Jesus — a king — ride on a donkey, rather than a horse? “All kings rode rode horses to show their strength for battle. Jesus was different from other kings. Jesus was stronger than any other king but He followed God’s plan in humility. He came to save the people from something much worse than a government that made life hard. He came to save them from their sin.”
While it may be too late to order and receive this in time for this year’s Easter Sunday (for which I apologize — although you never know, maybe you can still get it in time to read at least a few before Easter!), it would be an excellent devotional any time of year and definitely a tradition worth establishing for Easter readings with your family or students.
What are your favorite teaching tools for communicating the truths of the resurrection (and its enormous implications!) to children?