When I first realized I was going to be celebrating Easter at home without my extended family or church, it hit me in the gut. I wouldn’t be singing “Hosanna” along with my church family. I wouldn’t be eating my aunt’s pie. I wouldn’t be hugging my mom and dad. In light of the illness and income loss so many around the world are facing, not coming together physically on Easter might seem small. But these moments are important. They reunite our bond of love with one another. They refocus us on the unwavering hope we have in Christ.
This year, that will have to look a little different. We’ll be doing church virtually, but we can still celebrate meaningfully at home. Let’s be creative in finding easy ways to make this Easter beautiful for ourselves and our families. To remember that Christ is risen and he is our hope. Here are a few ideas to connect with the true meaning of Easter in a different way this year!
Good Friday Grief
Good Friday has always been a day that we sit with the hard. We acknowledge the darkness that sometimes seems to swallow up our world. God can take our hard. He can take our sadness, anxiety, grief and anger. This Good Friday, you might be feeling all these things in a different way.
Dedicate some time on Good Friday to allow yourself to express what you are going through. Paint it, journal it, express it through song or simply call up a good friend to talk it through. Cry out to God and know that he is with you in your grief. On Sunday, revisit your self-expression. Write, sing or paint how Christ’s resurrection changes the grief of Friday.
Celebrate With Your Neighbors – Social Distancing Style
A few of my friends from church distributed a flyer inviting neighbors to join them for “A Social Distancing Easter.” On Saturday, they will set out single-serve, sanitary communion elements on their driveway, along with a prayer card. Then on Easter Sunday, they invited all their neighbors to come to the end of their driveway to take communion together at noon. What a beautiful way of bringing neighbors into worship and building relationships in a new way!
Family Sunrise Service
I have never attended a sunrise service. 1) I don’t want to wake up that early and 2) I am always so busy getting ready for church and a big family feast that adding yet another activity has never appealed. But maybe this is the year to make room for a family sunrise service!
If your community’s guidelines allow, grab a few blankets, go to your nearest park, and have a short “service” with your loved ones. Sing one song everyone knows, have one person share a verse and talk about how the rising sun reminds us that, after the darkness of Good Friday, it is a new day. Jesus has risen, and with his rising, the world is changed.
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Sidewalk Chalk Celebration
Did you know that in some countries, like El Salvador and Guatemala, a tradition is to create colorful, detailed designs on the streets for Easter? Make your own beautiful sidewalk art for Easter. Write Easter messages or verses on your sidewalk to cheer you and your neighbors.
Go Fly a Kite – Haitian-style
Kite flying is a long-standing Easter tradition in Caribbean countries including Haiti. People fly colorful kites to symbolize Christ’s resurrection. What a beautiful picture! Since many of us will have extra time on our hands this Easter Sunday, consider flying a kite with your family and talk about how it’s a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
Easter Rock Hunt
If you’re like my family – not a big fan of hard-boiled eggs – and you’re trying to limit trips to the grocery store, you might not want to waste eggs right now. Instead of painting Easter eggs, go on a search with your family through your yard or neighborhood for egg-shaped rocks. Then paint these “eggs” with Easter symbols.
You can even forgo the usual Easter egg hunt for an Easter rock hunt! Afterward, display the rocks you paint in your yard for a cheery reminder this spring and summer of the new life we have in Christ.
Experience the Easter Story Through Imaginative Prayer
Imaginative Prayer, or contemplative prayer, is a way of experiencing the Scriptures through imagining yourself in the Bible story. As you read a passage, you pause and think what it would have looked like, felt like, smelled like, etc. You ask the Holy Spirit to bring new meaning to the story.
Practice this with Matthew 28:1-10 — the women at Jesus’ tomb. Start by praying that the Holy Spirit would open your eyes. Then read through the passage once to familiarize yourself. Next read through it a second time slowly, imagining what it would have felt and sounded like when the earth rocked under their feet. Picture what it meant that the angel looked like “lightning.” Imagine what the women felt as he spoke to them. You can do this individually or guide your family through it. Afterward, discuss what new truths jumped out at you.
Learn Other Cultures’ Easter Traditions
Did you know that in Ghana everyone in the country wears white for Easter Sunday? Spend some time learning about how other countries around the world usually celebrate Easter. We even have a few articles to get you started! Read about Easter in … Guatemala, Ghana, El Salvador and Haiti.
Make Your Own Communion Bread
OK – I know I just lost a lot of you. If the thought of having to make communion bread fills you with dread, move on to the next idea. But if you, like me, have baked more in the past month than in the past five years combined, consider baking communion bread for a really special Easter communion. You can find a plethora of recipes online – and don’t worry, the next idea isn’t making homemade grape juice.
Neighborhood Window Egg Hunt
Since there won’t be any community-wide Easter egg hunts this year, some neighborhoods are planning to decorate their windows with Easter eggs so children can go on a walk through their community to “hunt” for them. If you want to do this, distribute a flyer, text your neighbors or post your idea on a neighborhood app. Reaching out in this way can be a great way to make connections with your neighbors! As you walk through your neighborhood, consider praying for each person or family whose home you pass.
An Easter Basket, Just for You
This isn’t how any of us expected to be celebrating Easter. For many of us, the joy of Easter may be tinged with a different kind of grief this year. Let’s commit all those complicated emotions to God. And let’s remember that, as the saying goes, Sunday’s comin’. Christ is risen, and though the night is dark, we have a living hope in him.
And as a sign of how much we value you, we wanted to share a few gifts to help you celebrate the true meaning of Easter at home!