Military children grow up with many uncertainties and disrupted holidays. The military doesn’t come to a halt during holiday celebrations. Military orders, moves, deployments, alerts, and exercises are still carried out to protect our nation. So how can we protect the hearts of our kids during Easter?
My parents protected my heart by establishing family traditions. It didn’t matter where we were stationed or if my father (a military officer) was absent. I always looked forward to the consistency of traditions. They became an anchor of my childhood.
These anchors are important when our children become adults and give up their military IDs. The loss of access to military-base “hometowns” can feel like a loss of their childhood.
I am grateful that my parents started – and spent time building and maintaining – family traditions that carried my childhood into my adulthood. You can do the same for your military child.
“… hold to the traditions that you were taught by us …”
– 2 Thessalonians 2:15, ESV
Here’s a challenge for you and your military family. Start a new tradition this year at Easter.
Listed below are some of my own Easter family traditions:
*Easter Bunny tracks through your house.
“Look at the mess the Easter Bunny made in our house,” you can tell your kids on Easter morning.
Here’s how to prepare the scene beforehand. Make “rabbit tracks” throughout the house using two cotton balls dipped in baking soda, cornstarch, and powder. Drop jelly beans and Easter grass by the Easter Bunny’s “footprints.”
Don’t forget to leave a carrot out for him the night before!
*Easter baskets and candy-filled plastic eggs
Hide these inside your home. You never know the weather conditions at your next assignment, so this tradition works well wherever you’re stationed.
*Dye Easter eggs as a family.
Dye the eggs yellow and draw emoji (symbols for feelings) on them. Talk about feelings with your children.
*Jelly Bean Prayer
Use colored jelly beans to pray and discuss this prayer with your children:
Black: For our sins, the wrong things we have done.
Red: For Jesus’ blood, shed for everyone.
White: For a clean heart, when in Jesus we believe.
Gold: For the streets in heaven, promised when Jesus we receive.
Green: For growing spiritually and hiding God’s Word in our heart.
Here’s a recipe with a deep theological meaning.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1 10 oz. can crescent dinner rolls
8 large marshmallows
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. sugar
¼ cup melted butter
- Separate the dinner rolls into triangles.
- Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
- Dip the marshmallows in the butter and roll them around in the cinnamon and sugar.
- Place a marshmallow in the triangle of dough and fold the dough around the marshmallow, sealing the edges by pinching the dough together.
- Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes.
After the buns bake, the marshmallow inside melts and disappears. This disappearance represents Jesus’ resurrection after three days in the tomb. Use this process to tell the biblical story of Easter to your children.
*Attend Easter services at church and/or go to a Passion play
Worship the risen Christ as a family. Beforehand, discuss with your children the true meaning of the Easter celebration. You might want to read together the resurrection story from a children’s version of the New Testament; the story can be found in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.
No matter what Easter tradition your family begins this season, make it something your kids will look forward to year after year, no matter where you live and what your circumstances are.
Happy Easter to you and your family!
Stonecroft National Military Consultant