Countdown To Easter

This year I thought I would do something in Lent for my seven grandchildren. I began with the intention of sending 40 post-cards depicting the life of Jesus. What I had in mind was a ‘countdown’ to Easter. A year or so back, when we were going on holiday together, I did a countdown to the holiday – it was part of building excitement; and I thought I could do something similar building up the excitement to Easter. I guess the nearest parallel would be an Advent calendar, which builds up to Christmas. So I surfed the net for pictures, but after two hours I could find nothing – I could find pictures of the baby Jesus, I could find pictures depicting the stations of the Cross, but nothing which remotely gave an overview of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I would have been happy with 40 different pictures of Jesus, indeed with anything to do with Jesus, but I found nothing.

The nearest I got to finding such pictures were two sets of cards from the Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art – 16 pictures in all. But sadly they are quite beyond my grandchildren – indeed, if the truth be told, they are probably beyond the ordinary punter. I also came across a number of depictions of the Stations of the Cross – but they did not seem right for children.

In desperation I spoke to a highly creative friend – and she has made the equivalent of a ‘Holy Week’ calendar – save it starts before Holy Week. In all there are ‘doors’ for every letter of the alphabet – with a picture each day to colour. The calendars I am posting to the three families concerned – one in Vancouver, and two in London. Then every day of the four weeks I shall e-mail a larger copy of the picture on the calendar, together with one or more Bible verses to read, a brief comment and a simple prayer to say. I confess that we have drawn upon an old children’s storybook – but the calendar is very much our idea. The letters work out as follows:-

  • A is for Approaching Jerusalem (Matt 21.1)
  • B is for Bethphage (Luke 19.29-30a)
  • C is for Colt (Luke 19.30b-32)
  • D is for Disciples (Luke 19.37)
  • E is for Excitement (Matt 21.8)
  • F is for Fury (Matt 21.12)
  • G is for God’s House (Matt 21.17)
  • H is for Hands (Matt 21.14-16)
  • I is for Iscariot (Mark 14.1-2,10-11)
  • J is for Jar of Perfume (Mark 14.3)
  • K is for Knowing (Mark 14.13-16)
  • L is for Last Supper (Mark 14.22-25)
  • M is for Mount of Olives (Luke 22.39-44)
  • N is for Night (Luke 22.45-46)
  • O is for Opposition (Luke 22.47-48)
  • P is for Pater’s denial (Luke 22.54-57)
  • Q is for Questions (Matt 27.11-14)
  • R is for Robe of Purple (Mark 15.16-18)
  • S (a) is for Sadness (Mark 15.21)
  • S (b) is for Son of God (Mark 15.37,39)
  • S (c) is for Some Women (Mark 15.40-44)
  • T is for Tomb (Mark 15.46)
  • U is for Under Orders (Matt 27.65-66)
  • V is for Very Early (John 20.1-2)
  • W is for Wonder (John 20.3-8)
  • X is for ‘The Love of God’ [Cross] (John 20.11, 14-16)
  • Y is for Yes (John 20.19-21)
  • Z is for ‘Alpha & Omega’ (Matt 28.19-20)

Twenty eight letters in total, because the letter S appears three times – but that is helpful for me because it extends the period (ideally I had hoped for something to cover forty days!). Yes, I confess that some of the equivalences might appear a little contrived – and yet, amazingly, this ABC of the story of Christ’s passion and sub sequent triumph is chronological in order. In this simple way I will seek to share my faith with my grandchildren – and hopefully generate excitement in the build-up to Easter!

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