We Celebrated Easter. Now What?
Read John 3:16; Luke 19:1-10
I've been trying to think of a family activity that would be fun and not take away from the precious truth of Easter. Somehow, there seem to be more Christmas traditions that lend themselves to both things. I thought of a ‘Post-Easter Hunt’ that might work. May I explain?
The Goal: The heart of this activity is to enjoy displaying the heart of God to someone who, as of yet, doesn't know His personal love, both through our prayers and actions. With that in mind, one family member or friend who does not yet belong to Jesus, is chosen for our prayers and little kindnesses. Because of Easter, we have been given a heart like Paul's, Romans 9:1-3, and we know that God's heart is to make Himself known to our precious one, Luke 19:10.
How To Get Started: Gather one plain jar or container for each person in the family, plus one extra. Put the name of each family member on the containers. A simple tag or label for the craft challenged is great. Or make it as fancy a label as your art ability permits. Place small gifts such as favorite little candies, balloons or hair ornaments in each of the containers with names on them. Whatever would be fun for each individual. Pennies or markers would work too, depending upon age and interest. Don't forget the adults and older ones who might love favorite cookies. Why should the kids be the only ones with a special treat? On the extra jar, make a tag with the name of the one whom you would love to see saved. In that container, write out or print John 3:16 with the word whoever removed and their name inserted.
Plan A Post-Easter Hunt: Hide the containers, with the plan that everyone will hunt for them after a fun dinner. Talk about the fact that each person will have his own container. We can be excited that there is that one very special one that we will focus on as a family. Enjoy a fun dinner. Simple might really be fun with pizza or chili. Then, let the hunt begin. Enjoy finding the hidden "treasure boxes" and letting each one enjoy his personal little gifts.
Partnering With Jesus: After each person receives his own container, it is time to talk about the empty one and the person whose name it contains. Here's where we can share the heart of the Savior and how He is reaching out in love toward those who don't yet know Him. I love the story of Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10 and how Jesus reached out to this unpopular man. He spoke to him by name and took the initiative to be with him. Of course, there are many other stories in the Bible that tell how Jesus took time to find the ones who were not looking for Him. What a time to read or simply tell your favorite one. What a joy to remind ourselves that the Savior loves the one we have chosen as much as He loved Zacchaeus. The wondrous thing is that when we pray, love and give, we are partnering with Jesus. How fun to do that as a family.
What to do after all the containers are found and the dishes are cleaned up: Plan to pray, plan to give and plan to love. Perhaps placing the empty container on the kitchen table could be a reminder to pray at meals, that Jesus would open the heart of the person we have chosen, Acts 16:14. Little gifts. Prayer doesn't stop with praying for salvation. What fun it could be to ask God for His wisdom concerning what little gifts would be enjoyed and prayer is also central concerning reaching out. Should we ask them to a particular gathering at church? Will God show us an act of service that might be especially meaningful to our chosen person? Is there a helpful thing one of us could do? Perhaps, some special little homemade gift for a birthday??
What If They Get Saved?
Now that heart that had been empty is filled with real Treasure, the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19. Why not take their empty container and fill it with little treasures they might love. Wouldn't it be fun to bring that filled container to that new brother or sister, letting him know that he has been a special part of our Easter celebration? Oh, what a joy it would be to keep praying for them as they grow to love the Savior more and more.
What If They Don't Get Saved?
Sometimes, people move away or pass away, and it seems as if they haven't received Jesus' most precious gift. When we are sad about that, we can remind ourselves as well as our families that Jesus shares our sorrow. Our prayers and kindnesses have not been wasted because they have expressed God's Heart and His desire that all will come to belong to Him, 1 Timothy 2:1-5. Jesus did everything necessary for us to come to Him, and He wept when people didn't receive His love, Luke 19:41-44.
Whether we have a Post-Easter Hunt or not, with God's enabling, let's partner with Jesus, showing and telling others about His love.