by Ryan Langr
Easter is far from over, and there is still plenty of time to teach your children about this most wonderful season. I believe that almost anything can be used as a teachable moment, and mixing fun with learning is always a great way to help people remember and connect what they learn.
One of my hobbies is cooking, and even though she’s not even two yet, my daughter loves to peek her eyes over the counter as I’m preparing dinner and say that she’s helping.
If we are deliberate, we can cook with God. We can invite him into the process and make it prayerful and teachable. Because God permeates all of reality, everything is a sign of him. All we have to do is look for his presence and draw it out. Below I highlight four different dishes that you can make with your entire family to help teach them about Easter, its history, and God’s love for us. Don’t worry, recipes are provided!
4 Recipes for Teaching about Easter
Click on titles for links to recipes.
Eggs of all kind are the quintessential Easter symbol, but have you ever wondered why? Easter is a time to celebrate the new life we’ve been given through Christ’s death and resurrection. Eggs are an ancient tradition of new life (since they’re basically a womb), and since about the 13th century they’ve been used by Christians to symbolize Christ’s exit from the tomb.
A long time ago they used to be forbidden during Lent, so people would color them in celebration of being able to eat them during Easter.
When you’re boiling the eggs, take some time to talk about what it means to have new life, and what Jesus’ gift means to us. Meditate on 2 Corinthians 5: 17: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Lamb as a symbol of the holy predates even the Jewish religion, but as a component of a celebratory (or sacrificial) feast it stands out as a remembrance of Passover. Easter is the fulfillment of Passover, and thus an excellent time to remember, celebrate, and learn about Christianity’s Jewish origins. Though Christian Seder meals are best done during Holy Week, as a learning opportunity you could do one any time in Easter.
Even if you just want to cook lamb, it’s an excellent time to have a discussion with your family about why Jesus is the Lamb of God. No, we’re not eating Jesus when we eat the lamb (that’s the gift of the Eucharist!), but we can eat lamb every Easter to help us remember the gift God gave the Hebrews in delivering them from Egypt, and delivering us from the chains of sin and death. Every celebration of the Eucharist is, in part, a remembrance of Passover—help your family connect that our actions today are connected to those of the Jews thousands of years ago!
This classic may not seem like much, but it’s a perfect example of how simple things can be reminders that lift us up to God. Hot cross buns have a long history in many Christian countries. On Good Friday, bakers would mark their buns with a cross to remind them of Christ’s sacrifice, and they actually thought the blessed buns had the power to ward off evil. These buns really became what we call “sacramental” objects that we may encounter every day which remind us, bless us, and draw us towards Christ. Other sacramentals include holy water, rosaries, and saint medals. Now I don’t know if your hot cross buns will actually ward off evil, but it presents an excellent opportunity to talk about the power of sacramentals in our faith life.
As my wife says, “Jesus gave us bacon.” Pork was a forbidden food to the Jews under the old law, but Jesus fulfilled the law and gave us a new law.
While the ham is baking, meditate with your family on Ezekiel 36: 26-27: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Jesus gave us the law of love, written on our hearts, and by dying and rising he gave us the power to actually follow the law. Talk with your family about some of the rules you have in the house. Do you have them just to be mean and restrict freedom, or are they laws you made because you love them, want the best for them, and want to keep them safe? It’s the same with God’s laws.
And…don’t forget the bacon.