It began on Palm Sunday, and will take us through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then finally the celebration of Easter Sunday.
For the past few years, our family was fortunate enough to be part of a house church in Winnipeg. We were part of that gathering of friends for about four years. In that short amount of time we were able to develop and establish rich traditions together. Our family was just warmly remembering them together last night...
On Palm Sunday the families with kids would get together for breakfast. Auntie Di would bring a bushel of fresh palm branches. The kids would go to the end of the hallway and parade into the living room mimicking the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This would all happen with Uncle Ken playing his guitar and us singing Steve Bell's "Holy Holy Holy Lord". Afterward, as the celebration continued, Ken would do his best "old Jewish man" impressions and for some strange reason and to the delight and urging of the kids, he'd also do some Russian dancing which we thought went very well with the Jewish songs we were playing.
Every year the adults would gather together for a Maundy Thursday meal and conversation, and communion. Those were rich times.
On Easter Sunday we'd have a family celebration. One year we released helium balloons into the air with words that Jesus spoke that inspired us. We ended the morning with a dance party to hits from the 80's, 90's and beyond in our basement - choosing to celebrate the freedom we received on Easter.
Our season of doing House Church deposited significant memories and moments into our family.
We're alone here this Easter. We don't have our house church to celebrate with. In fact, we're heading away together for the weekend. We do however, have our own traditions that we've created over the past many years.
Every evening of Holy Week we read from a children's book the girl's received at Easter a few years ago. If you've got young kids, it's a great one - it's called Eyewitness Animals - the Story of Easter by Robin Currie. The book is definitely well below Hannah's age level, but she still loves the stories and the memories they bring from hearing it over the years.
Another book we look at each night of the week before Easter is The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith. This book has the most amazing artistic representation of Jesus' experiences the week before Easter. The girls spend a lot of time studying the detail in the illustrations - loving the royal feel the gold gives to each page.
A final resource for us has been Common Prayer - A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals compiled by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro. We've tried to use this book after supper over the past few months. Sometimes we do better with it than others. I try to pick and choose excerpts from the daily reading that will fit the girl's ages best. There is a whole section devoted to The Holy Week and it packs a powerful punch. I know this book will become tattered and worn over the next few years. At least I hope it does.
What are some Holy Week traditions your family has?