Latter-day Saint Life

Emily Belle Freeman: How to celebrate a Christ-centered Easter all season long


Why do we celebrate the birth of Christ for an entire month but only celebrate His Resurrection for one day? Here are some tips on how to fill your Easter season with reminders of the Savior.

In our home, the Easter Bunny came on Saturday. There was an Easter egg hunt in the backyard and baskets full of chocolate waiting when we woke up.

Sunday was for Jesus.

We dressed up for church in new Easter dresses. One year we even wore white, silky gloves. For that one day, we celebrated Jesus.

It wasn’t until just a few years ago, right in the middle of December, that the realization dawned on me––why do we celebrate the birth of Christ for an entire month but only celebrate His Resurrection for one day?

David Butler and I were talking about this just last week because of a conversation he had with one of his sons. They were talking about some of the people who were there in the last days before Christ’s death and in the days following the Resurrection. His son asked, “Dad, why do we know so much about the people who were there when Christ was born? The shepherds. The wise men. The angels. And why don’t we know very much about these people who were with Christ when He died? Why don’t I know the story of Simon?”

It was such a defining question.

How can we better teach our children to celebrate Easter? How can it become a high holy day in our homes the same way Christmas is?

For the past several years, we have started celebrating a Christ-centered Easter. In the weeks leading up to Easter, we talk about the people who were closest to the Savior: Mary, Nicodemus, Simon, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, the people with the palm branches, and Thomas. Each has a story to tell and a lesson to share.

After we talk about each story as a family, there is a simple activity we do together to help us remember that lesson. We dye red Easter eggs, decorate a testimony tree, hang our favorite scripture verses about Christ from a banner, and set out white lilies. On Easter Sunday, there is a fancy dinner where we are reminded to bring our finest as we celebrate the life and Resurrection of the Lord.

One of my favorite lessons is the story of Simon. He was the man pulled out of the crowd to carry the cross of Jesus. In Mark 15, we are told that Simon’s two boys were there in the crowd, watching as their father carried the cross. I love the lesson that is taught in those verses about the importance of performing an act of kindness in a moment of great need.

Simon was from Cyrene, a poor city where many farmers lived. He was most likely a man of very humble means. In honor of Simon and his lesson, we each tie a piece of jute string around our wrists as a reminder to perform an act of service sometime in the next week. Once we have performed the act of kindness, we cut the bracelet off.

Learning about these people and their witnesses of Jesus Christ has allowed the celebration of Easter to fill up more than just one day––instead, it becomes the focus of our spring. The lessons and activities help to fill our home with decorations that testify of Christ and remind us of the true meaning of the season.

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter (Children’s Edition)

Discover how the people around Jesus during the week of His Crucifixion and Resurrection can lead your family closer to Christ this Easter season. This children's edition of Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter will guide you through seven meaningful traditions inspired by the people closest to the Savior during His holy week. These simple experiences are not meant to add chores or stress to a reverent holiday season but to offer something different. They will give your family an opportunity to slow down from the candy and egg hunts and instead spend time reflecting on the Savior's ultimate sacrifice and triumphant Resurrection.

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