I decided if we were to live intentionally towards significant Christian celebrations and traditions, we needed to mark more of these holidays visually inside our home rather than just leaving it to the church to do for us on Sundays. So I found this easy table idea using one of the children’s stuffies as the unblemished passover lamb, and green construction paper to represent the palm trees for the branches that would have been laid before Christ as he entered the city of Jerusalem on a donkey.
You may want to have your family read Exodus 12:1-6 and talk about what you’ve read. See what applications your family can make from the passover lamb. Again, I’m using Martha Zimmerman’s Celebrating the Christian Year for much help with these celebrations we hold. She suggests discussing the phrase from verse three that “each one” needs to take a lamb, and focus on the importance of this individual act. Secondly, talk about the word unblemished and how the lamb chosen was to be this, symbolizing the sinless Christ. Thirdly, the lamb was to be male, also symbolizing Christ, the Son of God. Fourthly, the lamb was to dwell among them, right inside with their families inside their homes, just as Christ dwells among us. And fifthly she encourages us to discuss how the lamb was loved by some before it was sacrificed, just as Jesus was loved by some before his death on the cross.
It is suggested to follow the reading from Exodus chapter 12 with a reading from the New Testament, Matthew chapter 21:1-10 on the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, focusing on verse ten where it states the whole city was stirred and asked, “who is this?” Prior to Palm Sunday, over the years, we’ve always taken the 40 days of Lent to get to know Jesus through his names (also in this book mentioned above), memorizing the names for Jesus and reading some of passages to confirm these names. So on Palm Sunday, after reading Matthew chapter 21, why not ask your children how would they answer the question, “who is this?”
Some other ideas we’ve been able to incorporate into Holy Week ahead have been visiting a museum that held some paintings with the theme of Pasch/Easter, or find these paintings online or at the library to study during your week. And one very new great idea that has recently been passed along to us from a dear friend was to re-create the city of Jerusalem with cardboard or plasticine. This will be attempted today and tomorrow in our home (so maybe some pics by the weekend.)
And there are also several films of the life of Christ such as Jesus of Nazareth that may be an opportunity to remain focused and keep you slowing down during your Holy Week.
We’ve also held a Seder supper on Maudy Thursday during Holy Week to remember Passover and the Last Supper. You can find a scripted one to do with your children at the above marked link for the Seder supper on Jennifer Dukes Lee’s website, a great resource for this!
Before going to bed on Maundy Thursday, you may want to read Matthew 26:36-46, giving special attention to discussing how Jesus may have felt in the Garden of Gethsemane after his disciples had fallen asleep. Having children recognize feelings and maybe a time they also felt lonely, afraid, or distressed, and writing it down or in the way of a prayer or poem is something that could become a special way to share together on the morning of Good Friday around the breakfast table as you remember together the events of this day and read from the scriptures together.