When I was pregnant with my fourth child and had a 1-year-old, 3-year-old, and 5-year-old, I wanted Easter to mean something more than just eggs and candy. Yes, reading the Easter story from a storybook or listening to worship music focused on the resurrection were some ideas, but these weren’t novel enough. Pinterest had ideas of cross buns or paper plate crafts, but that wasn’t what I was looking for either.
“How can I make Easter come alive and memorable for my kids?”
My lightbulb moment was when I realized, if I couldn’t take them back in time, I would create something visual for them to see. The cross, they’ve seen. But a life-sized cardboard tomb might be key in helping them experience the death and resurrection of Christ visually for themselves.
Surely, this idea was not my greatest mom moment, but I was committed.
The week before Good Friday, I had collected cardboard boxes from friends, neighbors, and local stores. The night before Good Friday, I set out to create a substandard representation of a tomb with a rolling stone door in the corner of my living room with craft paper, cardboard boxes, gray paint, tape, and a stapler. I made it so the kids could walk inside once the stone was rolled away and I placed their Easter gifts inside the tomb and rolled the stone to cover the tomb. Full disclosure: it looked like cardboard boxes taped together with gray paint on it with a round cardboard door. Remember, I was pregnant.
“It is finished.”
The kids woke up on Good Friday to a massive cardboard rock formation in the corner of their living room.
“What is that?” said the 3-year-old.
“Can’t you tell? It’s a tomb!” responded the 5-year-old. “Easter’s coming.”
And because of its novelty, the kids danced around the tomb, shouting, “Easter’s coming! Easter’s coming!”
My mom heart was satisfied.
A few hours later, my Croatian Catholic grandmother-figure neighbor came by to deliver Easter cookies. As I let her in, I forgot what I had just done in my living room.
“What is dat?” she asked with her European accent, more with shock than curiosity.
“It’s a tomb,” I said matter-of-factly. “I’m trying to help the kids understand Easter and how Jesus died and was buried and rose from the dead.”
And she sat for a while as we ate cookies and talked about Easter, Christ’s resurrection, our plans for Sunday, and family.
As I reflect on this snapshot of my life, I can’t help but smile at how God is amazingly faithful to those who want to reflect Him.
As a young mom wanting to do right by my kids (but not always knowing how), my little attempt to make the gospel story come alive was rewarded even if my cardboard tomb was a hot mess. (It did not reflect my best crafting skills.)
However, the kids dancing around shouting, “Easter is coming!” helped me realize that every little thing counts when we do it for the Lord. Our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions in trying to raise Christ-centered kids count, even when we think we failed.
Plus, ministering to our kids affects our ministry with others as well. Friends, neighbors, and strangers are watching how we parent. We don’t have to be perfect (we can’t be), but in our obedience to focus on Christ, God will use those moments for His glory. I was able to have a great conversation about the gospel with my neighbor without it being awkward because I did have an awkward cardboard tomb in my living room.
Easter is coming soon. We have a great opportunity to share the story and love of Christ to those inside and outside our family. Remember, God cares more about our obedience than about the outcome. From our obedience to be His ambassadors, He will use it all for His glory.
Y Bonesteele is a mom of 4 and wife of 1. She has her M.Div from Talbot School of Theology with an emphasis on Evangelism and Discipleship. She recently moved to Middle Tennessee after spending 6 1/2 years in Madrid, Spain, living on mission with her family.