3 Tips to Help Your Families Prepare for Easter (Youth)
In our continuing series, Home for the Holidays, we have been taking time to help you and your teen celebrate the holiday seasons differently during the continuing season of COVID. Things are finally looking up as we head into spring and Easter. We know your student may have had a long year of school, but hopefully, they are back to in-person learning. Our families and churches are definitively feeling a bit more normal, as well, but many families may still choose to celebrate Easter virtually due to various risk factors. Whether you plan to observe the holiday in person or virtually, here are 3 tips to help families intentionally prepare their teens for Easter.
40 Days and Nights: Journaling
The spiritual practice of journaling is a powerful tool in which students can engage. The Easter season is the perfect time to introduce this spiritual discipline into their life. Forming the habit of reflection and response shapes the spiritual depth of faith. Journaling can also be something to do together and share as a family. Head to the nearest bookstore or visit your favorite website and allow your student to pick out a journal or notebook they like. Going in-person (if possible in your area) can be a great outing for your family as you look for a journal that fits each person’s style.
Choose a 40-day reading plan through the YouVersion (https://www.youversion.com ) App or another reading plan/book. Make a spiritual commitment to read and journal in the morning, and then set aside time at night to share. Some students may not be writers, so don’t limit them to just one form of journal use. Allow each member of your family to “journal” in the way they feel best helps them reflect, whether it is writing, drawing, or creating. Each person is unique, and so are their learning styles.
Space and Place: A Family Room
Easter decorations are a great way to create a fun, spring-like environment indoors and outdoors. This year, consider something different as you decorate your home. Churches often choose to develop and utilize sacred staging and spaces for this time of year. With many churches still limiting numbers for in-person gatherings, Easter Sunday may not be the same. Consider choosing a room in your house to designate as a sacred space for your family leading up to Easter. Make this special “family room” a place where your student can be still—a unique concept in our busy, loud culture.
Instead of bunnies, eggs, and colorful décor, utilize items to make this space a place for reflection and quietness. Place a cross somewhere in the room along with candles and meaningful items. Include pictures of your family and loved ones to help your family remember and pray for each other. You might be surprised at how your student responds and how it affects their mind and heart.
Grown-Up Easter Baskets: Serving
As students get older, the classic family Easter favorites like Easter egg hunts and baskets often fade away. Consider bringing them back in a creative, service-minded way. Introduce grown-up Easter baskets for your family to give away to others. Have an “Easter Egg Hunt” for items to be added to the baskets. Think of shut-ins, neighbors, church members, or even another family in the community that could benefit from some help or encouragement. Decide how many baskets you would like to create, what items should go in each basket, and agree on a budget. Don’t be afraid to let your student invest some of their own money into the project.
Organize a family night to go on your “hunt.” Consider doing team vs. team or parent vs. children shopping. Make it a fun experience as you search, shop, and assemble the baskets. Incorporate a favorite take-out meal or a special dessert when you return home. Choose a day to surprise your selected people with their “grown-up Easter” baskets. Pray over each basket and recipient, taking that person’s needs to God. Consider making this a new tradition for your older kids in the coming years, as you move from the practice of receiving to a new one of giving and serving.
The Lenten/Easter season is a special time for families to reflect, connect, and celebrate and a wonderful opportunity for students to deepen their spiritual disciplines. While there are some additions and distractions similar to Christmas, Easter remains, at its core, a celebration of new life–both seasonally and spiritually. Whatever you do for Easter, make time to pause and reflect on the incredible miracle God gave us in Jesus. Whether you can gather with other believers in a traditional service or you are planning to worship online, use these creative ways to remind yourself and your family of the hope found in Jesus alone.
Dan Istvanik has been working in youth ministry for 25 years, serving in churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington DC. He is a speaker, ministry coach, writer, and contributor to other ministry resources. You can contact Dan at www.mymresources.com, where he shares student ministry resources.