This question was posed to me by my step-daughter when she was four years old. At the time, I had to sit down and think on that for a bit. What does resurrection look like? It’s not like we experience it in our daily physical world. Being brought back to life is not something we have a concept for as children or adults really. The closest example might be the whole caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis thing.
It’s the intangible part of faith. Belief in what we cannot see. But some did see it and witness it. So, taking into consideration the Biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection, I started looking for a hands-on way to explain it to her. What I found, which couldn’t have been more hands on, was a recipe. Resurrection Cookies to be exact. A recipe that included scripture step by step to tell HIStory. My solution found.
This is THE foundational tenet of our Christian faith. Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death and bodily rose from the dead. He defeated Satan and in so doing, built a bridge for us to spend eternity with Him because only His blood can cover all our sins and allow us entrance into God’s holy presence. The creativity in the cookies is, as you make them, each step incorporates a part of Jesus’ death. Then the cookies actually stay in the oven overnight (everyone say ‘tomb’) and when you take them out the next morning and break one open, it’s EMPTY. A gaping hole inside each one symbolizes Jesus’ resurrection with a clear visual of how those who saw the empty tomb may have felt that first Easter.
Since I am not a fan of reinventing the wheel, here are two links for you to peruse with excellent instructions. Kitchen and Kids has steps with pictures and Celebrating Holidays has a more concise version. There is also an additional recipe on the Kitchen and Kids site for Resurrection Bread if that is more to your liking. Same idea with it being “empty” on the inside after baking but the making part it focuses more on the burial of Jesus which your kids will find interesting as well.
We have done this activity several times over the years and have found it to be a unique way for our children to interact with the pages of scripture. In various years, different parts strike the kids as memorable. Our first time, my daughter couldn’t get over how awful vinegar smelled let alone tasted and was mortified that the soldiers even considered giving it to Jesus. When it was my son’s first time through, he was struck with the finality of having to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. A true sense of loss hit him that the disciples really may have thought it was all over and how great their fear may have been not knowing what to expect the next day (just as he didn’t).
As your children grow, they will interact with this activity differently depending on their spiritual growth and life experiences. Keep it up. Each time you intentionally re-read Jesus’ HIStory, and discuss the reality of the resurrection, you add another brick on their faith foundation. The older ones will revel in recounting the event for the younger ones. And cookies shared with those around you who need hope for their eternal future, could prove to be life-changing. Seeing the lost get found and the sinner set free from the past is what resurrection looks like to me.
What memorable traditions do you have to celebrate the resurrection? What resource helps you explain faith foundations to your children?