Wait, you think, did I read that right? Christmas doesn’t matter? And this coming from a Christian missionary? Christmas has been, as long I know of the biggest holiday of the year, especially for Christians. But should it be?
When most people hear the word Easter they think of bunnies, spring, chocolate, eggs and a big meal with family. But for Christians it’s the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Christ, the most important event in the history of our faith and undoubtedly in the history of the world . Without Easter “Christmas doesn’t matter” because if Jesus didn’t die and rise again then he was just a good prophet not the Son of God.
Yet as Christians we celebrate by going to church, having a big meal with family and maybe an egg hunt. Are these things bad? No! But it’s not enough! This is the celebration of the most amazing event EVER and the foundation of our faith! I don’t think it’s coincidence that it’s been down played, for without Christ rising we have no hope, we have no power over the evil one. In Corinthians 15:17 it says “ If Christ was not raised our faith is futile and we are still in our sins” No wonder Satan doesn’t want it celebrated as it should be.
So my challenge to you as Christians to celebrate Easter as it was meant to be celebrated!! Let’s make it HUGE bigger then Christmas even! If you scroll down you will find many ideas, including an advent, to help make this Easter and those that follow a bigger and more purposeful celebration!
Instructions: Read the scripture, devotional, and questions corresponding with each day and hang the ornament ( that you have made before hand) that goes with that day on the cross. You can make your cross out of two pieces of wood or If you like the more symbolic way save your Christmas tree; cut off all the branches, cut the top forth off and tie it crossways on the bottom half to make a cross. Because Jesus came to die!
This is my christmas tree made cross.
Day 1 Sunday
1st Sin Genesis 3:1-13
Adam & Eve had been given all they needed along with the regular, intimate presence of God. It was very good!! Man’s disobedience is not so much depicted as an act of great wickedness as much as it is an act of great folly. They had all the “good” they would have needed, but they wanted more—they wanted to be like God. It seems like the essence of sin is to put your priority over God’s! When God asked what they had done. He knew what they had done. God desired them to confess what they had done and begin a long process of reconciliation. Sin has now entered the world and has separated us from God forever. And this is why Jesus had to die.
1. Ponder for a moment all the good things you have around you from people, possessions and situations.
2. Do you really need more above & beyond what God has given you? Whose priority are you placing on the top?
3. What do you need to confess before God?
Day 2 Monday
Passover Exodus 12:3-7, 12-13
Ornament: a door colored red on the top, bottom and sides
The final plague was about to take place, the slaying of the firstborn! If one wanted to be protected one needed to slay a male lamb, without breaking any bones, as a sacrifice and place the blood of the lamb on the top & sides of the door frame of the house. Everyone also needed to participate in the eating of the lamb & remain inside over the night. The angel of death came that night and “passed over” each home that was covered by the blood of the lamb! The next day they were freed and began the trip to their new home.
1. Who was called the “Lamb of God”? Who was killed with no broken bones? Who caused judgment to pass over the people because of His blood?
2. Are you willing to participate with the “Lamb” and place His blood over the “door of your heart”?
3. What changes should take place if you are freed and headed to a new home?
Day 3 Tuesday
10 Commandments Exodus 20:1-17
Ornament: a stone tablet
As the people stood in awe before the mountain (Exodus 19), they heard the very voice of God introducing Himself to them: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (verse 2). Then follows a list of rules which were to form the foundation of their relationship with God (verses 3–17). They were to be devoted to God alone and out of that love for God they were to love & live right with the people around them! If we are to have a relationship with God we need to live within the same guidelines! But God knew we could not live that way and so he had to send his son so we would be seen as blameless.
1. Why do you think God wanted to have these guidelines?
2. Where do you need to step back into these guidelines for a right relationship with Him? What is stopping you?
Day 4 Wednesday
David Prophesies Psalm 22:7-8, 14-15
Ornament: pierced hands
David’s world was falling apart. He was scorned & despised by his friends. He felt that he was melting from the pressure placed upon him. Jesus’ world seemed to be doing the same thing. The people were sneering at Him and His bones were out of joint as He hung upon the cross. Kidner wrote “No Christian can read this psalm without being vividly confronted with the crucifixion”. The whole line of peoples’ experiences are pictured in this Psalm: from despair, hostility, pain and even death. Jesus was tested in all those ways. He has been there and can come alongside you as you walk through anything!
1. What pictures of Jesus do you see in this passage?
2. What are you going through now that you think Jesus cannot relate to? Ask Him to come alongside and intercede for you. Hebrews 4:15-16
Day 5 Thursday
Isaiah Prophecies Part 1 Isaiah 53:1-6
Ornament: black fabric (sin)
Isaiah 53 describes the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (vv. 1–4), His death (vv. 5–8) and beyond that even the burial and His resurrection and exaltation. It shows an innocent servant who dies in the place of the guilty. Jesus took the place of guilty sinners and paid the price for their salvation. Yet who has believed our message (vs. 1)? These words were quoted in John 12:38 and Romans 10:16. There is a big gulf between God’s message and people’s response. Yet the job of those who believe is to keep on telling others what was said before and happened later to Christ.
1. Have you ever asked someone who this passage in Isaiah is talking about?
2. What keeps you from telling others about Jesus?
Day 6 Friday
Isaiah Prophesies Part 2 Isaiah 53: 7-12
Ornament: white fabric (purity)
A servant is not permitted to talk back; he or she must submit to the will of the master or mistress. Jesus Christ was silent before those who accused Him as well as those who afflicted Him. Jesus was even illegally tried & sentenced to death but remained silent. He did so because He submitted His will to the will of the Father! Jesus did so as a Lamb so that He would pay the penalty for our sins! But God will prolong His days in that He will be raised from death and live forever in a relationship with those who follow Him!
1. Are you ready & willing to follow His lead? If so, are you really building a relationship with Him? How?
2. Jesus was obedient to the will of the Father, are you ready to do God’s will even if it is not enjoyable?
- How do you overcome your will to do God’s will first?
Day 7 Saturday
We All Fall Short Romans 3:21-26
The word “sin” means “to miss the mark”. It could be similar to missing a bullseye when shooting an arrow. People do not hit a bullseye very often in archery. God is perfect and every person misses the mark of “perfect” in life. We all have fallen short of His glory because of sin and cannot have a relationship with Him. God wanted a relationship with us so He generously gave us a gift by sending His Son, Jesus, to pay for our sin so that we might be in right relationship with Him. Jesus went to the cross for us otherwise we would have died without a relationship with God.
1. Why did Jesus need to go to the cross for us?
2. What elements would you say is involved in a right relationship with a friend? How could those elements be involved in your relationship with Jesus?
Advent weeks 2 &3 can be found here:
Fireworks: In the US we set off fireworks as a symbol of our freedom. If we confess and believe that Jesus died to save us then we are really free. So we set off fireworks to celebrate the freedom of our souls.
Decorate your House: lambs, nails, crosses, bells, a sign that says “ he has risen!”, crown of thorns, color purple…. you get the idea.
Make resurrection buns to go with your big meal http://allrecipes.com/recipe/resurrection-rolls/
Or resurrection cookies: http://www.kintera.org/atf/cf/%7B8E975F2E-4C1C-4315-AAFF-34A97EB367B5%7D/Resurrection_Cookies.pdf
Play Easter music. Here are two good CD’s that I have: Ultimate Easter Worship Collection and Positively Easter
I also wanted something exciting to make Easter just as exciting as Christmas but didn’t want whatever it was to take the focus off Jesus so this is what I thought of:
Easter Scavenger Hunt: Buy a Jesus figurine; on Friday put it in a tomb ( or under a rock or in a bush). In other words hide it. But make sure everyone in the house knows where he is buried. Early sunday morning take out the figurine and really hide it. If you have young kids hide it in the house if you have older kids you could hide it somewhere in the city or at a friends house and make clues to have a scavenger hunt to find Jesus. Just like the women went to the tomb and Jesus was not there your kids or friends will do the same, then go look for Jesus. The person or team to find him gets a prize. You can make the clues whatever you want but I was thinking something scriptural like “ Jesus said I am the living water” go to _____ fountain to find your next clue.
Put on a Easter Pageant
Celebrate Lent; I know most of us reserve this for Catholics but it’s a good thing. Starting on Ash Wednesday and continuing on till Easter ( 40 days) you give up something, like ice cream or your favorite TV show and when you are missing the thing you gave up it reminds you to pray and think about what Jesus did for you.
Tell the Easter Story with Resurrection Eggs http://www.teachkidsthebible.com/biblelessons/resurrectioneggs.htm
Make a “Easter Scene” http://www.catholicicing.com/religious-easter-craft-for-kids-make/
Buy childrens books about Easter and read them to your kids