Today I’m simply sharing a few ideas for good Easter basket gifts that I’ve come across the last several years as we strive to continually be more intentional with pointing our family to the resurrection of Christ as the reason we are celebrating. While the “Easter Bunny” never shows up in our celebrations, I do prepare an Easter basket for our daughter each year, including gifts chosen purposefully to help teach her about Christ’s work and the real reason we’re celebrating. Instead of just candy, I look for something that clearly spells out the story of the resurrection on an age-appropriate level that will help her understanding of it. A few things are usually added just because they are some of her favorites or a special treat, but either way, we major on the fact that there would be no reason for celebrating anything without Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and the new life and forgiveness of all sin, past, present and future, that He gives to those who trust in Him.
Before delving into my list of ideas for Easter basket fillers, I want to acknowledge that Christian families may choose vastly different ways to celebrate Easter. Some prefer not to mix the sacred with the traditional. If your family is one of these, you may still find these tools helpful in preparing for discussions over Easter. And if you already choose to do Easter baskets, maybe you will find an idea or jog a memory of something meaningful you’d like to include this year. So my purpose is not to prescribe a certain way as “the way” to celebrate Easter Sunday, but to promote reflective thinking through why we do what we do and to make sure that whatever ways we choose to celebrate, that our focus is ultimately on His work on the cross.
Items I’ve put in my daughter’s Easter basket over the years:
-First “real” children’s Bible – small enough to easily carry to church, in a simplified version but still includes both Old & New Testaments in their entirety along with interesting illustrations interspersed throughout
-Easter Celebration! Hymns CD that I found the following year — same series as the coloring book
–Jesus Storybook Bible (LOVE!) – I actually don’t remember if I gave her this for Easter or Christmas, but I will never get tired of reading it to her – and she never gets tired of hearing it! Can’t say enough about how this book gives an overview of God’s redemptive plan and shows how each story in Scripture points to the overall Story of the Prince who left his home and suffered to save the one he loves…
-New Testament sticker book by Dorling Kindersley…
A few of the stickers were pretty graphic (unnecessarily so, I thought, and I took those out of the book) and their brief summary statements didn’t begin to do justice for what they were portraying, so if you search for this, be aware of that and prepared to tell the stories yourself.
-“He is Risen Indeed!” book – absolutely love this! This hardcover book is full of beautiful paintings that illustrate the story, which is completely made up of texts from the gospel accounts – no man’s words added!
Scripture text is taken from the English Standard Version which I love because it’s a great translation that isn’t difficult for children to understand. Begins with Luke 23:44-49 (darkness covering the earth and the curtain of the temple torn in two before Jesus called out, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit!” and the response of the centurion) and follows through different texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John through Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to His disciples and ends with John 20:30-31 ~ “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
-“The Priest With the Dirty Clothes” book by R.C. Sproul was actually a gift to my daughter from my brother’s family this past Christmas. It would make an excellent addition to an Easter basket. It is an allegory of a young priest who wants to preach before the King but gets his robe dirty and obviously can’t appear before the King in dirty clothes. Given a second chance, he tries and tries to clean his priestly robe to no avail. When he appears before the King again, Malus (representing Satan) accuses him and mocks him. Then the Prince has him change clothes with Him. The Prince takes on the young priest’s dirty robe and gives him His own spotless princely robe which makes him accepted to stand in the King’s presence. Oh, how I love this allegory!
This year’s plans include (shhh, don’t tell!) the book “The Very First Easter” by Paul Maier and a cross-shaped necklace in addition to some edible treats.
What are your favorite ideas for intentionally pointing your family to Christ at Easter?