We began on Palm Sunday, and using a large pad of easel paper, every day we drew pictures to illustrate what happened on that day of Holy Week. Carden and Seth really got into this, embellishing and adding to my pathetic stick figures with their own drawings, coloring, labels "Pilate = bad guy," and discussions between themselves "Seth, don't draw a smile! Jesus was SAD that day!" "Carden, that's Judas, he's not supposed to be happy." "He's not. See, I drew mean eyebrows." More amazing was how interested I got into researching what happened so that I could be prepared for the next day's drawing. Tyler teased me that I walked around the house reading Jesus the Christ like it was Harry Potter.
By Wednesday I'd found a Mormon Tabernacle CD full of Easter music: the cathedral-and-stained-glass-type I'd been craving. Pieces from the Beethoven oratorio, Dvorak, Gounod, John Rutter--all wonderful stuff made for a great iPod Easter playlist. Nowhere near my 32 hours of Christmas music, but a good start, and it filled the house with the feeling of Easter.
Thursday I thought about serving a Passover dinner, but figured the kids were not quite old enough to make it worth the work. But we did serve bread and grape juice and talked about the change from the Passover to the Sacrament, before diving into our decidedly nontraditional plates of spaghetti.
For Good Friday I made Hot Cross Buns, which didn't turn out quite so pretty as I'd hoped, but tasted good and will hopefully work better next year. Because the Gospel writers offer enough detail of what happened when during that Friday, I spent the day much more aware of the time and what was happening so many years ago in Jerusalem (7am: probably dragged between Pilate and Herod; 8am: the scourging?; 10am: the cross; sunset: hastily placing the body in the tomb).
Saturday was gloomy weather, appropriate for the day I spent thinking of the Disciples marking the Jewish Sabbath, ruminating on the previous day's event. As part of a church lesson on Easter that I had to teach, I put together a DVD slideshow of works of art depicting scenes from the last week of Christ's life. I really had a great time combing the Internet for material. And our computer even cooperated (mostly) and Tyler burned the disc without incident! True miracle.
Easter Sunday was a beautiful spring day, wonderfully perfect after the gloom inside my soul the preceeding two days. We ran out of time on Sunday, but later that week we made Resurrection Rolls (slightly goofy concept but a big hit with the kids).
By the time I packed up the box of Easter decorations, I felt like we had really celebrated Easter for what it is--a hard week of watching someone prepare for his death, paying closer attention to his last words and teachings, and appreciating the glory of Resurrection morning because we'd seen the price it took to get there. Next year I think we'll add some more activities I found online and continue to make Easter a wonderful--and major--holiday for our family.