Easter:  Heart Preparation for You & Your Family

I have precious memories of Easter morning growing up.  We decorated Easter eggs on Saturday, wore new Easter clothes (usually made by my mom), and received an Easter basket with some candy in it.  We also attended a sunrise Easter service in town, although as staff and as a Pastor's family, I am so grateful we don't do that!  My parents never did the Easter bunny because they really wanted all the focus to be on Jesus for this holiday but they did have an Easter basket for us.  I’ll never forget the Easter I received a new Bible with my name on the front.  It is a very special memory to me.

Tim and I decided to do the same.  Our girls did receive small gifts and candy in their Easter basket but they weren’t huge and we had the baskets sitting out on the counter Easter morning.  Before we left for church, which was usually 1 ½ to 2 hours before the first church service started, the girls would “open” their Easter baskets.  It was a lot of fun.  Tips for you women who work at church:  have everything laid out the night before.  Every shoe, Bible, sock, hair bow, etc. –this really helps.  You need to do everything you can to make this morning smooth because you KNOW Satan will have his arrows out and pointed at you and your family!

four Harlow girls.jpg

After church, we’d have an outside egg hunt (even if it meant wearing our winter coats some years), usually going to our friends’ house, eating, laughing, and celebrating this day together. Tip #2 moms:  if you fill your plastic eggs with candy, don’t wait until the night before to do this—this can add to your stress as well as add sugar headaches… as you and your spouse just might tend to OD on this candy!  Just saying. 

I don’t judge or condemn anyone who uses the Easter bunny in their home, but I personally was feeling like Jesus was getting lost at Eastertime so we didn’t have him come to our house or get photos with him.  (FYI, Santa did come to our house if you are wondering.)  

Enough about what I didn’t do, here are some things we did do to celebrate Easter and I invite you to borrow, copy, or edit in any way that works for your family:

Earlier during the month, I would decorate one area of our family room with a beautiful book, a silver goblet, a fake loaf of bread, a piece of purple material, and a crown of thorns.  I received this idea from my friend, Beth Stone, who raised three amazing children to know and love Jesus as well.  This area is a visible and beautiful reminder of the last supper and the night Jesus was betrayed. 

Another way we celebrated Easter was talking about what a special celebration it was at home and at church.  They were always included in the special things that were being planned for our own church family (their mom was the worship director and their dad was the preacher, remember!). 

I also made sure they had new clothes to wear for this special celebration.  It was (and is) a big deal—it’s the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus!  Our girls knew this day was as important as going to a wedding.  And I have always loved seeing little children so dressed up on Easter.  From the little dresses and bow ties, to tights and gloves to suspenders and new shiny shoes:  it all just warms my heart.  I am sure Jesus gets a kick out of this as well!  Oh, and by the way, these could even be used gently used but “new-to-our-girls" clothes, but that was rare because of a certain grandma! JThanks, Faye!

I also used the Resurrection eggs,  opening one every day the 12 days before Easter.  Each egg contains a little item that represents part of the Easter story.  I highly recommend these for every family.  It is a great activity/devotional to use at dinner time each evening or before bed. 

I also had some videos that were about the real meaning of Easter, Jesus’ resurrection.  We had a Bible video series (okay, ours was on VHS) that included “He is Risen.”  They were made by Richard Rich, a former producer and director for Disney, so you know they are well done.  You grandmothers, this would be a great gift for your grandchildren!  You can find these videos and more here:  Animated Bible Stories.   The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  is a great movie to watch with a little bit older children because it gives a powerful illustration of what happened on Easter.  Do you know of other good movies for kids?

When my girls were older, we went to the movie the “Passion of the Christ.”  I recommend this to be a traditional movie for high school and older to watch every year …just know it is too graphic for smaller children.  It definitely keeps our hearts remembering all that Jesus did for us.

When our girls were elementary age, a couple of times we would attend a passion play during the week before Easter.  Our church hasn’t ever done this presentation but some churches still might so check your area.

What about you and your spiritual health, ladies?  How are you preparing your hearts for Easter?  Many of you lead churches and ministries so Easter is a busy time of preparation for you.  I want to recommend a book by Liz Curtis Higgs called “The Women of Easter.”   Here is an excerpt:


Mary, when asked in John 20:13, “why are you crying?” responds “They have taken my Lord away, “she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

Her answer was swift, though it must have pained her to confess the reason for her tears—“because they’ve taken away my Lord” (HCSB). Who were “they,” Mary?  Soldiers, grave robbers, priests?  She was too heartbroken to explain further, undone by the sad reality—“I do not know where they’ve laid Him” (NASB).

When we’re in pain, we often reveal the deepest truths.  That’s what Mary did when she said, “They have taken away my Lord’s body!” (CEV).  My Lord.  So intimate, in the best sense.  Jesus was not only her Savior.  He was also her friend.

Lord, help us think of You as Mary did—as our dearest companion, our truest friend.

That’s why Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb.  Not out of duty, but out of love.  The same love that kept Mary of Bethany at His feet.  The same love that kept Mary of Nazareth at the cross.  The same love that stirs our hearts and for the same reason—“We love because he first love us.”[1]


Sisters, we are free to love because of what our beautiful Savior Jesus did for us!  So, prepare your own hearts this Easter and celebrate our risen Jesus.

Because of my Risen Savior Jesus,

Forgiven & Grateful Denise

P.S.  Don’t forget to share this or any of my blogs OR podcasts right now, and receive a free beautiful Easter gift from Womentum via Lindsay Letters and be sure to tag me in order to get the code!  But HURRY:  the coupon code expires right after Easter! 


[1] Higgs, Liz Curtis.  The Women of Easter. (Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook, 2017), 180-181.