Kids look forward to Christmas with great eagerness. They count down the days with colorful paper garland loops, eating chocolates from the Advent calendar, or lighting candles on the Advent wreath.
But somehow it seems as though Easter has never reached quite that same level of excited anticipation. Perhaps it’s because most of the mainstream world—whether practicing Christians or not—celebrate Christmas in one form or another.
It could be that Christmas is associated so much with gift-giving. Or perhaps it is just the magic of having something light to celebrate in the middle of a dark season of the year. Easter tends to carry more meaning for Christian families than those outside the faith.
Easter as an Event
But for whatever reason, Easter doesn’t seem to generate the same quality of widespread peace and joy that Christmas does. What if it did?
What if Easter became the biggest event of your church year? What if it became the biggest event for your community?
What if instead of just focusing on the sorrow and sacrifice of the Lenten season and reflecting on the heavy events of Holy Week, we could rally the whole church family around the glorious joy of resurrection morning?
And what if, instead of just having that one joyful day, we could extend those feelings that come from happy fulfillment and hope-filled promises and perfect grace and launch a week-long or month-long (or longer!) celebration of all things new and good for our whole community?
Dream With Me
What if we could be a gift for our communities in such a way that it would become something everyone would look forward to all year long? What if it became so much bigger than a Christmas musical or a candlelight service? What if it became bigger than the most amazing Easter egg hunt?
What could that look like? Can you take a moment and dream with me?
What if Easter Sunday were the jumping-off point for a whole festival of new life? What if, just as we sometimes host Fall Festivals in October, we could host a New Life Festival in the spring? Perhaps it could include all kinds of experiences:
- giveaways or respite nights for parents of new babies
- a grand opening or re-opening of meetings for people starting a path to recovery from addiction
- breakfast gatherings for those starting new jobs or new chapters in their education
- an arts festival for those wanting to try out new skills and discover new talents
- a petting zoo with new baby animals
- a food tasting night for people to try new foods from new restaurants or to celebrate a farmer’s market
- a giant party to celebrate those who have dedicated their lives to Christ in the last year
- decorating a whole town or street with beautiful new floral arrangements that could then be given away to newlyweds for their new homes together
- a new or new-to-you clothing swap shop set up to help those starting new careers
What if, instead of a one-time Easter egg hunt, we could create an ongoing scavenger hunt for kids? What if they could look for clues (painted rocks might work) around their communities and then bring those clues to the church to get new prizes to help them celebrate new life in the world? These could include ponchos for spring rainy days, plastic trowels, and seed packets to plant new flowers, marshmallow chicks, or chocolate eggs to remind them of new life for animals everywhere.
And what if we celebrated new life by memorizing related Bible verses? And what if we received new stickers on a chart for every Bible verse we memorized? Here are some verses to get you started:
- Isaiah 40:31
- Isaiah 43:18–19
- Ezekiel 11:19
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Ephesians 4:22–24
- 1 Peter 1:3
- Revelation 21:4–5
Even More Ideas!
And what if we had story times with new stories that helped us look at the Bible in new ways? And what if we could give a new book to every family in our congregation, or even every family who came to our New Life Festival?
We could give away affordable, vibrant picture books such as those in the Clever Cub Bible Stories series, beautifully illustrated Bible storybooks like The Easter Storybook, or sturdy, fun board books for new babies such as Just Like Jesus or My First Easter Storybook. And what if we launched a new Bible story reading time in a park or at a local library branch?
What if we created new hats or crowns to symbolize a renewed mind committed to Jesus? And what if we had a parade, or a fun run, in which those participating in the parade wore their new hats? And what if we raised new funds to go toward helping new residents at shelters or nursing homes?
The Best Thing Ever
What if, every year, people celebrated Christmas together, and then immediately started looking forward to the new year and counting down the days to the local church’s celebration of new life? What if people began to remember that Easter isn’t just about Jesus dying? It’s about Jesus living, every day, and making all things new—even me, and even you.
What if looking forward to Easter became the best thing ever?