Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter

I am still brought to tears when I read the account of Christ’s crucifixion on the Cross. I am still brought to tears as I read the prayer for me, for all believers, He prayed before His betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17:20-26). Yet, above all that, I am deeply saddened that so many people of this world do not know Christ as Savior. Even worse, in my opinion, are those who claim to be children of God yet the focus of their Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is on a rabbit, eggs, and baskets of candy. Why? What is the point? It was Christ who died for the sins of the world, not a rabbit.

In our family, we bake Easter cookies to provide a more concrete understanding of the importance of the empty tomb (see recipe below). We don’t do baskets, egg hunts, or candy unless they are given as a gift from a family member. My kids received “Easter” cards yesterday in the mail and Th said, “It’s not my birthday. Why did _____ send me a card with a bunny on it?” I smiled inside and thanked the Lord that my children, as much as possible, understand the true meaning and importance of Easter. Without Easter, there would be no eternal life through Christ. Without Easter, we would all face an eternity of suffering in Hell.

I urge you to read and meditate on the account of Christ’s crucifixion. It was bloody; it was painful; He prayed to not have to suffer (Luke 14:36), yet He willingly faced it knowing what was to happen and the ultimate outcome of salvation through belief in His sacrifice. That is love only God could provide!

Easter Story Cookies
To be made the evening before Easter

You need:
1c. whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 c. sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon
tape
Bible

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (Read John 19:1-3.)

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19:28-30.)

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. (Read John 10:10-11.)

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. (Read Luke 23:27.)

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. (Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.)

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.)

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. (Read Matt. 27:57-60.)

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. (Read Matt. 27:65-66.)

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were sad when the tomb was sealed. (Read John 16:20 and 22.)

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! Explain that on the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. (Read Matt. 28:1-9)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16