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Ideas for the Easter weekend image

Ideas for the Easter weekend

Simple ways to help your family focus on Jesus.

In the last post, we looked at family Bible reading in the days leading up to Easter. In this post, let’s think about different ways to focus on Jesus over the Easter weekend. 

Maundy Thursday

Over the years, we created a tradition of remembering Jesus’ Last Supper on Thursday night. For Jesus, this was the Passover meal that he shared with his disciples, following the centuries old tradition of recalling how God had redeemed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt under Moses. There are many Christian versions of the traditional Passover meal available, which try to echo and extend the Jewish elements. 

However, with a young family, we went for a very simple version, which highlighted what we felt were the main elements of the Thursday night: Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, the sharing of the Passover meal, and Jesus sharing the bread and wine while teaching about his death and resurrection. 

For us, dinner is usually lamb in the slow cooker, served with wraps, and grape juice for all. This retains the key elements of the Israelites eating lamb and unleavened bread before the Exodus, as well as Jesus’ sharing bread and wine with his disciples in the Upper Room.

Here is what we did:

After reading out John 13:5–17, we washed one another's feet, just as Jesus washed his disciples' feet. In practice, this was my husband washing each of the children’s feet. They loved this, and it seemed to emphasise how strange it would have been for Jesus to wash his disciples’ feet. 

We then sat down together to eat the meal. During the meal, we explained how this was the type of food that was eaten on the night that the Israelites were saved by God and rescued from Egypt. They had to eat it in a rush, which is why the bread had no yeast in it. We read Exodus 12:24–27 about how God commanded them to celebrate the Passover every year in this way.

After the food, we talked about how Jesus celebrated this same meal with his disciples the night before he died. We shared some bread and a cup of juice and read out Matthew 26:26–29.

For many families this is the last night of Term 1, before what is often a busy Easter weekend. As such, this simple version is manageable even with very young children. For us, it was a highlight of the Easter weekend for over ten years. 

I have created a guide for doing a very simple ‘Passover meal’ , including things to say and verses to read, that you can download and print out from here. You can obviously add more to it if you would like. 

When the kids were school aged, we then settled down to watch The Prince of Egypt. This (now quite old) animated DVD shows the events of Moses’ life from birth to the Exodus and is quite accurate and moving. I cry every year at the final Exodus.

Good Friday

You could have hot cross buns for breakfast as a reminder that Jesus died on the cross. 

Join with the family of God at church. Good Friday services are often a more sombre time to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross and anchor us at the beginning of the weekend to really reflect on Jesus’ death. 

Be ready to answer the inevitable question, ‘Why is it called Good Friday when it’s the day that Jesus died?’ Simple answer: because in dying Jesus has saved us from our sins so that we can be friends with God, and that makes it very good! 

If your kids want to know more about the origins of the name, head to: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27067136

Easter Saturday

Some people like the idea of having a quiet Easter Saturday—a sort of waiting like the disciples did. I can see that attraction of this idea. However, we never did it! 

Easter Sunday

Again, as with Friday, meet with the people of God to celebrate that Jesus is risen! Many families go away over Easter. In that case, you could visit another church, or do your own mini service at home.

For many years I resisted the Easter egg hunt, thinking it frivolous and preferring to avoid adding to the load of chocolate in the house. However, I mellowed more on this as our kids got older, and an Easter egg hunt around the house soon turned into a fun activity to kick off the day. But do remember to explain it—it’s not just a chocolate grab! Rather, eggs symbolise new life. And because Jesus has risen from death to life, we too can have new life in Christ.

Finally, you could finish off lunch with a resurrection egg. For us, this was simply a large hollow chocolate egg. Citing the words of an old kids’ song—‘An empty egg, an empty tomb: they both remind us of good news’—we would smash the egg, show it was empty, and remember that the tomb was also empty for Jesus had risen. On more organized years, this egg would be sitting atop a cake (‘resurrection cake’). Often though, we just had the egg. 

Hopefully these ideas encourage you to think about how to focus on Jesus over the Easter weekend. With just a little pre-planning and shopping, your family can reflect on Jesus’ death, rejoice in his resurrection, and give thanks for God’s saving grace offered to us all.

Wendy Lin is a theology graduate, ministry wife and mother of three (almost) young adults. She loves time in God’s word and the opportunity to teach it, reading books and catching up with women. She has enjoyed her return to university to study counselling and is involved with her wonderful husband in marriage ministry. Wendy blogs at musingsinadelaide.


All About Jesus Easter Colouring and Activity Book

With loads of colouring pages, mazes and fun puzzles, this delightful Easter activity book teaches kids aged 2-7 all about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

Read more

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