The season before Easter has arrived. Each year, our family has several traditions we keep. Among them are the Easter Tree, Resurrection Eggs, and reading Easter themed books.
Years ago, we created our own Easter Tree using a fake tree in our kitchen. Basing the idea on the popular Christmas time Jesse Tree tradition, we planned to tell our children the earthly life of Jesus from birth to ascension.
We scheduled 40 days of readings accompanied by 40 ornaments. Each day covered one passage or event in Scripture from the life of Jesus.
At the time, our oldest children were preschoolers so we used a beginning reader Bible story book for the readings. Ornaments were ones we had picked up on clearance after Christmas or handmade. Each ornament related to the story read that day. For instance, when we read of the baptism of Jesus, the accompanying ornament was a dove.
As the years have passed, we continue to use the Easter Tree, but we have made a few changes. Now, each year, we read one complete Gospel.
Consequently, the number of days and ornaments vary from year to year. For instance, last year we read Matthew. With 28 chapters, it is considerably longer than this year's reading of the 16 chapters in Mark.
The daily practice of reading from a Gospel and hanging a symbolic ornament prior to Easter is a tradition we all enjoy.
Another tradition the children are especially fond of is the Resurrection Eggs. They lie in a basket in the dining room. Sometimes, we hide them about the house, search for them, and then open them together, allowing the symbols inside each egg to tell the story of Easter.
In addition to these activities, we have a few favorite Easter books that are read year after year. These include...
I Believe In Jesus, by John MacArthur
My Easter Basket: And the True Story of Easter, by Mary Manz Simon
Jesus Loves You, by Diane Stortz
I Believe In Jesus: Leading Your Child to Christ, by John MacArthur
He Is Risen, adapted by Tess Fries
Jesus Lives! The Easter Story, retold by Laura Derico
Easter ABCs, by Isabel Anders
Jesus Is...For Me! by Christine Tangvald
Easter Is...For Me! by Christine Tangvald
The Parable of the Lily, by Liz Curtis Higgs
Journey to the Cross, by Helen Haidle