A Unique Celebration of Feast of Firstfruits for Children
(An alternative to non-Biblical Easter traditions)
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
“Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee…” Matthew 28:6-8.
When my children were young, I wanted to find a way to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits, the Resurrection of Jesus/ that did not include hidden eggs and chocolate rabbits. I prayed for wisdom and a creative way to express what actually happened on the ‘first day of the week’ when the women went to the tomb and found it empty.
Matthew 28:7 jumped out from the page in my Bible. The disciples went into hiding. They were afraid. An angel appeared to the women at the tomb and said, “Go tell the disciples, ‘He is risen.’” From these words, the Apostle People were born.
The Apostle People are made from paint-stir sticks with heads cut from poster board. Each head is labeled with one of the names of the apostles: Thaddeus (A Traveler), Andrew (A Fisherman), John (Cared for Yeshua’s Mother), Simon (A Man of Peace), Peter (A Fisherman), Bartholomew (Under a Fig Tree), Thomas (The Doubter), James (A Fisherman), Matthew (A Tax Collector), James (The Short One), Philip (Fed the Disciples), and Judas (The Betrayer).
There are two more people: Yeshua (Salvation) who wears a talit or prayer shawl and an Angel (Messenger) that wears white.
During the week of Passover, we would read of the events in Yeshua’s life from his arrival in Jerusalem until Passover. On Passover, we would wrap Yeshua in a white cloth and put him in a tomb made from a box. Then, we would place a rock in front of the tomb.
On Saturday night before the Resurrection, I would remove the rock and Yeshua from the tomb and place the angel by it. I would remove Yeshua’s linens and hide him somewhere in the house. In the morning when my children woke up, they found the angel and the empty tomb. It was a perfect moment to say as the angel did, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)
They would search the house for Yeshua and when they found him, they would find a special gift to encourage their spiritual growth. Over the years we gave them Bible character dolls, the armor of God, books about Esther or Jonah, Bible dictionaries, necklaces, T-shirts, concordances, and devotionals. Because Yeshua is the Word of God, the gifts always reflected the Word and growing spiritually in that Word.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).
They would also notice that the Apostle People were missing. They were no longer in the place they were kept. These men were hidden outside in the yard. My children would get excited to go outside and ‘find the disciples.’ When each one was found, the child would proclaim, “He is Risen!” A few pieces of candy or small treat was placed with each apostle to make the finding them a little ‘sweeter.’
©1991 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article, please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.