Congratulations to Natilla L. who is the winner of a copy of Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter, courtesy of Paraclete Press.
It's not easy to find quality Easter focussed books for children but Make Room is one I can recommend. Another is The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt; Illustrated by Tim Jonke. A lovely story for children of all ages. There's a narration of the book on YouTube.
Some Family Devotional Reading:
Ann Voscamp has two free devotionals for Lent and Easter available for download when you subscribe to her email.
Trail to the Tree is seventeen day Easter devotional with Bible readings and beautiful art selections to encourage listening, lingering, praying and contemplating. Adaptable to all ages. There is also a printable 'Forgiveness: fresh start' that ties in well with the Lenten period and gives a hands-on, practical application to the act of forgiveness.
'A Lent to Repent and Refresh' is a download of 40 mini cards or 'sticky notes for your soul.' Each card focusses on a Scripture and a prayer and includes a small colour print of devotional art. I love the aspect of 'fasting' from attitudes such as indifference and negative words. This is a simple way to prepare our hearts for Easter and could be used as a family devotional with older children or to glean ideas to use with younger ones.
Scroll down to the section 'Free Tools' to download the pdf's.
Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, Ford Madox Brown (1852–6)
Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper is a valuable book that helps us to discover the value of God-centred traditions and to establish them in our lives. The author points out that these traditions are important to us all - singles, children, couples, families. Her thoughts on this reminded me of an article on 'Continuity' I read many years ago by Edith Schaeffer, but haven't read since. (I'd really appreciate if someone reading this could shed some light on where this article can be found as I read it when I was single and it made a big impression on me.)
Treasuring God in Our Traditions is free to download here.
Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Lent, Holy week and Eastertide - compiled by Sarah Arthur.
I'm reading through this lovely compilation in the lead up to Easter and wrote about it here.
A rich resource that would work well with highschool age children. There are also some classic poems and extracts from works of fiction that would also be appropriate to share with children a little younger.
Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse (1970)
This is an intensely moving story of a young disfigured boy who, eleven years before the story begins, had been abandoned by his parents. Roman soldiers had found him discarded in the hills and carried him back to the garrison for a joke as one side of his face was fair and the other a hideous purple red. After the novelty of the birthmark had ceased to amuse the men, the boy was left with Nicolaus, the steward, who had kept him and grew to love him. The boy became known as 'Vinegar Boy' and now, eleven years after he first came to the garrison, he began to hear of the miracles performed by Jesus of Nazareth. A determination grew within him to go to Jesus, believing that he would be healed - and after he was healed he would choose a new name. The time came when he was to have a whole day to himself, and he planned to seek Jesus out. However, at the last minute he was required to take vinegar to the hill where there was to be a crucifixion...
And Jesus, the only Man in the whole world who could help him, was hanging unconscious on a cross - dying.
I read this aloud quite a few years ago and it was a powerful story. It is intense in places so would probably be best for ages 10 years and up.
Hymns & Songs
Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Ghent Altarpiece by Van Eyck (15th C)
And one of my all-time favourite poems:
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
by G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)