He is risen, risen indeed! And before He departed He raised His hands and blessed His apostles and all those who were with them, and gave them (and us) a GREAT COMMISSION…
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:17
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved…” Mark 16:15-16
This is the theme I felt compelled to share with my grandchildren this year.
Easter Sunday Morning I made our sort-of traditional dinner (Lamb Chops, Ritz Chicken casserole, Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts in Hollandaise Sauce with bacon and toasted slivered almonds, Sweet Pea salad, Hot Cross Buns, Garlic Butter Smash Potatoes – loaded with onions, cheese, bacon, and sour cream, and for dessert…a Strawberry Cobbler). I had the hot dishes warming in the oven when family arrived, so that the kids could do the Egg Hunt part of it all right away, because I knew they were really excited about it, and then we sat down to dinner to satisfy our hungry bellies before we continued with the rest of the fun.
Oh my goodness, I could hardly wait for them to arrive that morning. I had spent weeks preparing for this moment. I was nervous though too, hoping it would all work out as planned.
When I heard the car doors closing out front, I ran to greet them at the door, and welcomed all their super-tight, I’ve-missed-you-sooooo-much grandma hugs and kisses. “Are you ready for some fun?” I asked. Oh yes, for sure, they seemed just as excited as I was. So, I led them through the house to where I had their plastic buckets waiting for them by the back door. As we arrived there I pointed to my wall hanging and asked them if they liked my pretty “CHURCH.” I wanted to make sure they saw it. I think they liked it, but honestly they were so distracted with hunting for eggs I was slightly worried that they were going to miss an important clue. Oh well. I supposed that if I had to help trigger their memory later that would be fine. We stepped outside the door to gasps and squeals as they caught glimpses of all the colorful eggs strewn to kingdom come all over the lawn. There in front of them was the lawn sign that said, “You’ve been egged…”
We read the sign together and then the girls, pausing for permission, got the green flag to GO! Like racecars lined up at the starting line, engines revving, grandma waved them off and there they went as quickly as their little legs would carry them. One girl ran right, the other ran left, like two little humming birds buzzing around, literally just blurs against the green lawn. I had to put my camera into “sports” mode so the pictures wouldn’t all be just a blur. I barely got a handful of shots before the eggs were completely gathered. Lol! The girls sat down in the lawn and dumped out their buckets wanting to see what was inside all the eggs.
But at this point we pushed the pause button on the hunt so we could partake of our feast. All our tummies were growling. The girls left their buckets and eggs lie, and we all washed up. I swiftly set our hot dishes on the table and asked Jo to set out napkins and silverware for everyone. We all sat down, bowed our heads, and thanked our precious Jesus for giving His life for us, and for blessing our fellowship this beautiful day.
The next part of the fun was to open all the eggs and see what was inside. The eggs were filled with candy mints (Testamints), Resurrection buttons, and paper items.
I instructed the girls to set their candy aside and put all their paper items back in their buckets. They pinned all their Resurrection buttons onto their shirts. Jo was the winner of the empty egg. I asked them if they had found a paper heart with their name on it. Yes, they both had. Perfect! These hearts had scriptures written on the other side – Proverbs 23:26/Matthew 22:37-38 /Romans 10:9. Their dad pulled the scriptures up on his cell phone Bible app and the girls read them out loud together.
“My [daughter], give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37, 38
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Will you give your hearts to Jesus, your whole hearts, I asked? Then I handed them a note. On the back was a clue where to look for Jesus.
The girls tore off in that direction, with granny hot on their heels. Lol, no, I was nowhere near their heels. I was miles behind them panting and yelling for them to wait for me as I hobbled at top granny speed. Ha! I could hear them screaming in the distance, “We found Him! We found Him! We found Jesus! I got there just in time to snap a photo of them reading the note from Jesus’ right hand. It said: Read John 21:12-17/Matthew 25:31-40 …
“Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:12-17
I asked the girls, “Do you know what Jesus meant by “feed my sheep?” Who are Jesus’ sheep? And what do we feed them?
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:31-40
… and then the note said to “Go and look for the “least of these,” the lost people, who are everywhere, and bring them to Jesus, and give them what they need. Then open the note in Jesus’ left hand.
So the girls began looking around for the lost people (the paper people) and finally spotted one pinned to the backside of a tree. They found them all pinned to the backsides of the trees, lots of trees, hiding basically behind every tree. Some high, some low. The girls kept looking and finding…Red people, white people, brown people, black people, yellow people. And all of the people had needs written on them. The girls brought them all to the feet of Jesus and laid them out, and then began going through the paper items in their buckets to see if they had the things the paper people needed. They helped each other meet the needs until all the food and clothes, etc. had been given away.
Then the girls opened the note in Jesus left hand. It instructed them to take the people to church. To my delight the girls remembered exactly where the church was. They grabbed up all the paper people and took them to church, with all of us (parents and grandparents) gasping for air and trailing along after. We brought Jesus with us and left him just outside the back door. When the girls arrived at the church there was a bag of jewels beside it, with a note on it that said to read James 1:12.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
I told the girls that each one could take one jewel (from the bag of jewels) for each person they brought to Jesus, helped, and brought to church. So they counted out their jewels, and as they did I got out crowns for them and let them pick which color they wanted, and told them to use the jewels to decorate their crowns. So they sat down at the coffee table and stuck their jewels to their crowns while I read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
We talked about how the only works that will survive the fire are the ones we did out of love (1 Corinthians 12:1-4) and true love comes only from Jesus. “Greater love has no man than this, that He lay down His life for his friends.” It is the love of Jesus in us that compels us to do His good works and we should always listen to that still small voice that lays things on our hearts to do. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? How the religious people were on their way to do religious things, but passed on by the person in front of them who had a need. Only one person helped that person – the good Samaritan.
When the girls were finished, I took a picture of the two of them wearing their beautiful crowns and then asked them to read the scripture written on the inside of the crowns, and to do what it says.
“the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:10-11
They took their crowns outside and tossed them at the feet of Jesus. Then I told them about there being one last note on the back of Jesus. They opened this note. It said, “I’ve seen your good works. Behold, your reward is under your bed!”
Now, if I was a truly Godly old woman it would have ended there, but I’m ornery, and didn’t want the fun to end. So, when they went to go get their rewards they found only empty boxes with a note taped to each that said, “Oooops, I lied, you might try looking [in another spot] for your reward.” I heard the littlest one say, “Graaaammmaaaaw!” as they stood to their feet and headed to that other location, and there they both again found another empty box and another note attached to it that said, “Oooops, I lied…” Those notes mercifully led them to the right spots, and soon they appeared with their Easter Baskets in hand, excited to tear into them and see what they got.
Grandpa had gotten them a huge egg with Easter crafts inside. I had gotten them each a game – one an Easter finger puppet game and the other an Easter Match-it game. There were a couple of other goodies too. Another little note in the bottom of their bags said, “Happy Easter darling! It gave them a list of more things they could do now that their hunt was over:
- Go “egg” someone’s house
- Do their Easter crafts
- Play the Match-it game with sister
- Put on an Easter Finger-Puppet play for the grown-ups
- Play the Jesus Ring-toss game outside (it’s what I had used as our JESUS for the hunt)
- Watch a movie*
- Eat dessert
*Our choices of movies were: The Chosen season 1 (DVD), Risen (Pure Flix), Drive Thru History 3-episode Easter Special (TBN/dvr), The History of Easter (TBN/dvr).
The girls did their crafts, put on their finger-puppet play, had several competitions of Jesus ring-toss, and played Match-it while I got dessert together. We all ate dessert and then watched Risen. Welllllllllll, the girls actually only watched part of Risen, and then one fell asleep, and the other disappeared to the mancave where the men were watching something else waaaaaaay more entertaining. Probably Dude Perfect or something. At one point I do think they meandered to their bedroom to watch the animated movie, Lion of Judah – The Lamb That Saved The World.
I took a dish of our cobbler over to my elderly neighbors, and when I got back my son-in-law was saying his goodbye’s. He had to get up early for work the next morning so he bid farewell and made his exit . I drove my daughter and grandchildren home a couple hours later, after we had watched The History of Easter on the TV. It was the best day! The girls said it was their favorite Easter ever, buuuuuuttttt they say that every year. I’m so blessed to have them. What great, and grateful kids they are. Easy to love and easy to spoil.
If our Easter celebration sounds like something you’d like to do with your kiddos next year, here are some of my helps:
• About 3 weeks before Easter, after I had worked out what I was going to do, I placed an order with Oriental Trading Company. They ship quickly, but it’s nice to have things well in advance.
• I already had a bunch of plastic Easter eggs that I keep in a plastic tub and use from year to year, but if you don’t have any, you’ll need to purchase those – about 40 per child, various sizes and colors. And if you want to fill yours with goodies (other than mints and buttons), go grab that stuff as well.
• Make Paper people: Need construction paper, 2 sheets each of red, yellow, black, brown, & white. I folded my various colored construction papers, accordion style, and then cut paper doll shapes out of them (see diagram below). On each person I wrote a need (shirt, shoes, pants, dress, Bible, medicine, food, etc.). Save these “least-of-these people” to hide near the area where you place the Jesus ring-toss figure.
• Make paper items: Need various colors of construction paper. Cut out the shapes of one heart for each child, shirts, dresses, pants, medicine, food, etc. and also include the tiny Bibles. You’ll need enough paper items for each paper doll (see diagram above) to have one item. On each heart write a child’s name so that if one kid finds both hearts they can give it to the one that it belongs to. Write the scriptures on the back of each heart.
• Put Jesus together. I used packing tape to hold the footings of the Jesus ring-toss figure in place. I clipped a clothespin to Him to hold the hearts that the girls gave Him. I taped the notes, in envelopes, to His right and left hand, and His backside.
• I hung my church wall cling near my back door, where our Easter Egg Hunt would begin. I placed the kids’ Easter buckets in front of the “church” so they would take notice of it.
• Beside the church I placed a bag of jewels. On the bag of jewels I put a note that read (take your pick) 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 2:10 & 3:11; James 1:12; and 1 Peter 5:4.
• Write “Revelation 4:4, 10-11 on the inside of each crown.
• Put up the “You’ve Been Egged” yard sign just outside the back door (or wherever you plan to hide your eggs). Remember to leave one egg empty. You can have a special prize for the kid who gets the empty egg. And, you can decide later if you want to “Egg” somebody else’s house. If you decide to, have the kids fill 11 of 12 eggs with little prizes (buttons, mints, or anything you choose – in fact, you could even decide to bless someone (in the spirit of all we’ve learned today) by stuffing the eggs with money and “egging” a house where you know the people and children are very poor, and provide them little trinkets to put in the eggs to keep the game going.
• Fill the eggs. Fill with all the paper items first, and then with the buttons and the mints, and if you have more eggs, fill them with whatever other items you would like (candy, small toys, coins, etc.). Remember to leave one egg empty.
• Put together the final prize baskets (my daughter doesn’t like her girls to have too much candy, and since it is for their health I try to behave myself as grandma, which is really really hard, but I understand so I try to honor her wishes. Grandpa and I fill the prize baskets with toys and minimal sweet things. A chocolate cross and a package of peeps is about all I am able to get away with. Grandpa tucks in a few toys and I try to find a small game or two that I think they will enjoy.
I pray you have a happy Resurrection celebration with your family and are able to make use of my plans. May we all be watching for the LORD to return and busy about the Lord’s business until that day, especially in these dark LAST DAYS!!!! God bless you my friends.