**This article expresses personal faith as Kristi details how she teaches her children about the deeper meaning behind Easter Sunday. While we know that this doesn’t apply to everyone, we hope you enjoy learning about two traditions for a family here in OKC.**
As a kid, I remember being extra giddy when it was time for Easter. Sunday mornings were always special. Special people, special outfits, special treats! We would go to church service with my grandparents, eat a scrumptious lunch, and then we were off to the races to see who could find the most Easter eggs. It was always a great competition with lots of love, laughter and bragging rights that lasted all year. These are memories I want my children to have as well but I also want to instill more than just an eagerness for the Easter bunny to arrive. I want them to truly celebrate the day. A day that is all about Jesus’ love for us! So, a few years ago, I started collecting different ideas.
Perfect Book for the Easter Basket
I worked at a fantastic bookstore for several years, and one of the treasures that I found was this book by Lisa Tawn Bergren called God Gave Us Easter. I love this book because not only is it colorful & keeps my kids’ attention, but it uses examples from nature to explain God’s love for us.
Any activity involving food immediately catches my interest, especially if it’s a dessert! So when I learned about “Resurrection Cookies”, I was thrilled. Not only are these cookies absolutely delicious, but the ingredients tell the story of Christ’s death and glorious resurrection. This is a great way to get the kids and the tastebuds involved in the resurrection story. We do it the day before Easter and then wake up to an amazing surprise!
This is great for children of all ages, but I’ve adapted it a tad to suit my little ones.
Items you will need:
- 1 cup of pecans or almonds
- Zip-top bags
- Wooden spoon
- Mixing Bowl
- 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 3 egg whites
- 1 pinch of sea salt (or salt)
- 1 cup cane sugar (or sugar)
- Hand or stand mixer
- Wax paper
- Cookie sheet
I use all organic ingredients. That is just me, so if you don’t, then simply use what is in the parenthesis.
I like to read the story of Jesus’ last week but definitely the death & resurrection before getting started. I typically use a children’s storybook Bible like The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook and/or the Jesus Storybook Bible videos about the death & resurrection. There are so many great resources out there. I’m sure you already have some in your possession.
Now, it’s time to Story Bake! If you have children that can read, let them read the verses.
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Give each child a baggy of your chosen nut and let your children beat them into small pieces. While they do this, remind them how Jesus was beaten by the soldiers after he was arrested.
John 19:1-3 – “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.”
3. Let each child take a big whiff of the apple cider vinegar, even offer them a little to drink. While pouring one teaspoon into the bowl, explain that he was given vinegar to drink when he was thirsty on the cross.
John 19:28-30 – “Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
4. Eggs represent life, even if they do come from a chicken’s bottom, which my son enjoys reminding us all! Explain that Jesus gave His life for our lives, as you add the egg whites to the vinegar.
John 10:10-11 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
5. Put a little salt in each hand and let the children lick it, then add a pinch of fresh, unlicked salt into the bowl. This salt represents the salty tears of Jesus’ followers who mourned his death and the bitterness of our own sin.
Luke 23:27 – 27 -“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.”
6. Add one cup of sugar and discuss how the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us so much! He wants us to know him and live with him forever.
Psalm 34:8 – 8 – “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
John 3:16 – 16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
7. Notice the color of other ingredients added to the bowl so far. What color is it? Watch what happens as you beat the ingredients on high speed with the mixer for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks form. What color does it change to? Explain that the initial dirty color represents our sins but the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
John 3:1-3 – “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
While I have my kids salivating over when they will get to taste this delicious white mixture, yet there are still 13 more minutes of mixing to go, I like to talk about how just like Jesus had a purpose on Earth, God has a special purpose for each one of them too. It’s to love God and show others how much God loves them too.
Acts 17:26-27 – “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
8. Shake the nuts over the top of the white mixture and then fold the mixture until the nuts are blended in nicely.
9. Drop teaspoon size portion onto the wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was buried.
10. Pop the cookie sheet into the oven, close the door, then TURN OFF the OVEN.
11. Give each child a piece of tape and have them seal the oven door, reminding them that the tomb was sealed and soldiers were sent to guard it.
Matthew 27:65-66 – “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
12. Now, go to bed! They maybe sad to leave the cookies over night. Jesus’ followers were extremely sad and hopeless when the tomb was sealed with Jesus’ body inside of it.
John 16:20 – “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”
13. On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie! Notice what it looks like. It’s cracked on the outside & hollow on the inside. It’s empty just like the tomb! On the first resurrection day, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Matthew 28:1-9 – “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.”