Friday, March 23, 2012

Time for a New Easter Tradition?

Don't you love how family traditions revive old memories while also creating new ones? Celebrating holidays in the same ways year after year gives us roots and branches all at once--connecting past, present, and future in meaningful, emotion-charged ways. But once in a while, a new idea comes along that begs us to mix it up a little. Several years ago, when a pastor shared an idea his family adopted for Easter, I knew it had to become part of our family's tradition. Along the way, we've added our own personal touches. It's so simple and so powerful, you may wish to adopt it, too. Here's how:

On Good Friday, place a grapevine wreath, symbolizing the Crown of Thorns, around a candle in the center of your table. Light the wick, recalling Jesus's words: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12, NIV).

Open your Bible and invite family members to take turns reading aloud the story of the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. (I prefer the Gospel of Matthew for this.)

Lead a family prayer to thank Christ for sacrificing His life for us. Then, extinguish the flame, symbolizing His giving up His spirit.

Leave the candle dark until the third day.

On Easter Sunday, relight the candle to symbolize Jesus's victory over death. Then, invite family members to take turns reading aloud the resurrection story.

Finally, lead a family prayer: "Dear Jesus, we join together today to thank You for ___________________."

It may not be Easter yet, but since Jesus shared the gift of all gifts, why not praise Him together--right here, right now? Fill in the blank above using the comment section below to join the prayer, and please invite others to join as well.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).