Saturday 27 December 2014


Christ-centered Easter Traditions

Now that our Little FECS is 5 years old, family traditions become more important and meaningful. I was a little late in planning and unprepared in finding out what we want as our Christmas traditions and carrying them out. Thus, now that Christmas is over, I am working on Christ-centered traditions for Easter, to make sure that I am in good time. Here are some ideas, some my own and some I have found on the internet that I hope to cultivate as our family Easter traditions:

A few weeks before Easter...

1. Furnish your home with the yellow spring Easter flowers.

2. Make a daily Bible lesson plan. You can get some ideas here:

2. Light a purple candle on the days leading to Good Friday to signify that Jesus is King.

3. Practise singing Easter songs and playing Easter songs on the piano.

4. Do all the activities related to secular traditions on another day other than Friday and Sunday, perhaps Thursday or Saturday i.e Easter egg, Easter bunny, etc.

5. Have a plain-looking wooden cross. Tell the story of Jesus' death and resurrection and then decorate the cross to represent the beauty of Jesus' life.

On Palm Sunday...

6. On Palm Sunday, read Matthew 21: 1-11 together, watch a video about Palm Sunday and discuss it.

7. On Monday, read from the scriptures about Jesus cleansing the temple (Matthew 21:12-13) and do a spring cleaning of your home.

8. On Tuesday, give up a meal, fast and pray during that time instead for the poor and the hungry in the world or cook a meal for the less fortunate to mourn for Jesus' pending death.

9. On Wednesday, do something of service to others such as providing a meal to old folks' home or children's home.

10. On Thursday, read Matthew Matthew 26:17-35, make a dinner of soup and bread symbolizing the last supper Jesus had.

11. Wash and pedicure each other's feet in modelling after Jesus humility at washing the disciples' feet.

On Good Friday...

12. On Good Friday, make an tomb out of playdough or edible playdough.

13. Light a black candle to signify Jesus' death.

14. On Saturday, watch a movie related to Christ and discuss the movie.

Here are some videos on Jesus for children:

15. To commemorate Christ death on Good Friday and resurrection don Easter Sunday, make a cave with sheets and chairs, etc. and sleep in the "cave," representing Jesus' tomb. Read a story of Easter in your cave in torch light or candlelight. Watch a movie on Easter in it.

On Easter Sunday...

16. On Easter Sunday, light a white candle on Easter Sunday to signify Jesus' resurrection.

17. Wake up early at the crack of dawn and read the resurrection story from Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 and Matthew 2:1-11 from our bed. If your kids can read, have them read some of the verses too.

18. I got this idea from Faithgateway to have an informal "Kitchen sunrise service"as you get ready for the day. Put on Easter music. Read the Easter story from the children's books. Talk about Jesus and the real meaning of Easter. Talk about how important Jesus is, and why we need Him. What He did for us and why. Read the end of Luke. Pray for time together and a special blessing on each one person. Share stories about how God has worked in your life (that year). While the family is together during the holidays, use the time to share your personal stories about faith, redemption and life change. Also, reflect on the previous year and talk about how you have grown in your faith individually and as a family.

19. Make Easter breakfast with boiled eggs.

20. A new Sunday outfit for church symbolizes 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

21. Attend the Easter service together as a family at church.

22. Go for a long walk in the forest or park together and take the local train back to enjoy the scenery.

23. Share an Easter meal that includes lamb and talk about the symbolism in the Passover story. Eat the edible playdough empty tomb made on Friday as desert.

24. Conducting our Weekly Family Meeting Night in candle light.

On 6th April...

25. Celebrate our Little FECS' spiritual birthday with a token piece of cake to be shared among three of us and a small present, as on 6th April 2012 Good Friday, he accepted Christ at a tender age of 3 years old.


Here is a Christ-centered traditions book "Find More Jesus: Make  Easter All About Jesus" which is available from Amazon:

Monday 8 December 2014


Have Fun Sleeping on "Pretence Hay" on the Floor for Christmas

Baby Jesus came into the world, and the world did not want him. Rejected by all, they could not find a place for him to stay, and he was born not by any midwives, but in humiliation in a stable among the farm animals. God in all His riches and wisdom, did not intervene to provide a kingly birth for His Son, Jesus Christ. God humbled himself in humility, setting for us an example... albeit I must admit for myself, an example that is hard to follow.

We imagine what it must be like for Mary and Joseph, tired from the journey, no bed to sleep on, and giving birth in a stable. So we give up our beds and sleep on the floor each Christmas.

You can make "pretence hay" from shredded used paper or used magazine and surround the sleeping area with a border of shredded paper hay. You can let your kids cut those papers. It would be fun and great for fine motor skills training. The good thing about shredded paper "hay" is that they are clean and easier to clean up, than real hay.

As you sleep on "pretence hay" and relive the scene of the night at Bethlehem, it is a good chance include Christian education by reading the story of Jesus birth to your child again. It will certainly leave a deep impression in his mind on the birth of Jesus. This has been very exciting for Joshie and he was very receptive to the story. He asked to read one biblical story after any other. Then we prayed, and our Little FECS retreated by himself under the blanket to pray silently on his own. He told me that he prayed to God that mommy, daddy and him will all go to heaven together. Then he prayed for daddy, that he would have the faith to believe. I held it close to my heart. Thank God for this Christmas.

Don't worry if you could not manage to do this on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day itself. We forgot all about it and we only managed to do so on the 26th Dec. As you can see on the picture, we also did not manage to make the shredded paper hay as I only thought of this idea, when we were sleeping on the floor. We just simply pretended that the floor is laid with "hay" and we read a story on the birth of Jesus as we hit the "hay", and it was still great fun :-)

If you want to sleep on real hay, there are hotels in Switzerland, Austria and Germany offering. Here are a few links:

Monday 1 December 2014


CHRIST-Centered Christmas Traditions

Christmas can become very commercialized nowadays. Researching the internet, here are some wonderful ideas for Christmas traditions to keep us focused and rooted to the true meaning of Christmas. The ones I particularly like are bolded:

1. Advent Calendar: Create an Advent calendar with 24 days of Christmas, and on each day leading up to Christmas, do different things e.g. serve at a homeless shelter, collect coats for needy kids, deliver cookies to senior homes, tell someone "God loves you", give stuffed toys to the children at the burn unit, make Christmas wreaths for the elderly homes, bake cookies for the neighbours, etc.

2. Nativity Scene: Set up a Nativity scene without Baby Jesus in the crib. Whenever you catch your child doing something nice or doing a chore without being asked, put a colored cotton ball on top of the crib. Whenever he creates trouble, make him take out one colored cotton balls. On the day of Christmas Eve, count how many colored cotton balls remain before placing Baby Jesus on the crib to complete the nativity scene. Your child gets to exchange the cotton balls for Christmas cookies to be shared with his friends.

3. Christmas has a large focus on food. Why not during the week before Christmas, give up a meal and pray during that time for the poor, hungry and spiritually lost in the world.

4. Watch a movie that remembers the life of Christ.

5. Let your children shop for kids in their age group (3-5 gifts each) and give to the children at the children's home.

6. Fill a shoebox with gifts for a less-privileged child, wrap it up and give it to Samaritian Purse or a children's home. Add a Christian Christmas message into each box too :-)

7. Find someone to secretly love on with a blessing (a kind note, money, food, yard work, or whatever you can give that year.)

8. Write a letter to grandparents telling them you love them and what you want to do in the next year.

9. Begins on thanksgiving evening with house lighting and step out on the front yard to watch together.

10. Decorate the Christmas tree with every ornament that points to Jesus such as shepherd's staff, star, manger, etc. and explain how each item reminds us of Christ:

The lights - Jesus, the Light of the world
The tree - the Cross
The gifts - God's gift to us

11. Gift a new ornament to each child and let them keep in their own storage tub, to be theirs, to be passed down into their households/marriages.

12. Lit the tree in remembrance of Jesus being the light of this world.

13. Have a birthday cake for Jesus to celebrate His birthday. Explain that we get presents because Jesus lives inside of us, and we give presents to others because we want to share the love of Christ with all.

14. Attend a church service together on Christmas eve.

15. On Christmas' Eve's morning, get up early to fix pancakes, ham and cheese omelets, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed apple/orange juice for breakfast. Then read from the story of Luke and Isaiah.

16. Don't have to wait until Christmas Eve to open presents. Give your presents earlier so that the children can concentrate fully on the Christmas story from the Bible and Jesus' birthday. (Do the same for Easter - give the children their basket of Easter eggs on Saturday so that you can enjoy Easter Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ.)

17. Limit the number of presents. Give each child only 3 presents (something of need, something of want, and something of spiritual growth), because that is the number of presents that Baby Jesus got from the wise men.

18. Don't put all the gifts under the tree. Hide one of them, and instead an envelope with a clue as to where to find another clue will be found. Give 3 clues with the third clue leading to the wrapped present.

19. Wrap Baby Jesus as one of the gifts under the Christmas tree. Whoever got it will say, "I've got Jesus," and everyone will say, "Amen."

20. Tell why we give gifts too - because God gave to us and we want to love others. Explain that Jesus was the reason for Christmas. Because God sent His Son as a gift to us, we could also share gifts with others.

21. Let one of the gifts be a new PJ that they will go to sleep on Christmas eve :-)

22. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning:

Have the nativity scene nearby. Turn on Christmas carols. Lit the Christmas tree in remembrance of Jesus being the light of this world. Gather around the tree, talk about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas. Read a Christmas story book with pictures and let your child "read it". Sing carols 'Away in a Manger' and read from the Bible the nativity story from the gospel of Luke and Isaiah. If your kids can read, have them read some of the verses too. Then have "family communion." Then pray for time together and a special blessing on each person.

Open present one at a time so that everyone can see what everyone got and we can all thank each other. It is much more meaningful than everyone ripping open gifts at once.

Share stories about how God has worked in your life (that year). While the family is together during the holidays, use the time to share your personal stories about faith, redemption and life change. Also, reflect on the previous year and talk about how you have grown in your faith individually and as a family.

23. We have a dinner together followed by the lighting of the Christ candle on our nativity wreath, and then Daddy reads the Scripture account of Jesus' birth. After that we have a birthday cake for Jesus. The cake is chocolate, representing sin. It's filled with cherry pie filling, representing the blood of Jesus, and it's covered with white frosting which represents our new life in Christ.

24. Before opening presents, read the account of Christ's birth from Luke and the verses in Isaiah. Then pray for time together and a special blessing on each one present.

25. Read the birth of Christ from Luke and Isaiah at bed time, if you didn't manage to do so during the Christmas party.

26. Each Christmas, give up your beds and sleep on the floor together to remember what they have endured, as Mary, Joseph and Jesus did that first Christmas.

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