The Easter Tree is a 50-day journey through the Bible, leading to Resurrection Sunday, when Christians celebrate Easter. The Scripture and corresponding video devotionals usher you through the grand stories of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, highlighting familiar and seldom seen details, all pointing to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Scripture calendar begins on Ash Wednesday and corresponds to the season of Lent.
Families can print and create their own ornaments to hang on a tree each day.
The Easter Tree will have you reaching for your Bible in wonder and worship.
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The days are long and the years are short.
How true. I blinked, and my newborn daughter, the catalyst for my journey creating The Easter Tree, is now in college leading her own group of girlfriends in Bible study.
You’ve had those days, haven’t you? When the sleep deprivation utterly transforms you into someone you don’t recognize? When life resembles running through the mud, in a race with no finish line, for a reward that could not possibly cover the entrance fee. When the clash of personalities encountered at work and at home steal your joy from the moment your eyes open to the sound of your alarm.
Life FEELS like a grind. I’m the foolish hamster, running for rubbish on an endless wheel. It seems like the most I can hope for is to survive.
That’s the LIE.
When it comes to our children, we’re called to aim much higher than mere survival. For parents, grandparents, and committed caregivers, our goal for our children is to raise them so they will thrive. Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives us the model. We are four-dimensional beings: heart (emotional), soul (spiritual), mind (intellectual), strength (physical). (Mark 12:30) We yearn for our children to be healthy and whole in each of these areas, and to love God with all of them.
Take a moment and ask yourself: What do I ultimately want for my children? What character traits and qualities do I hope they develop and take with them into their adult lives? Is it well with their soul? Is it well with my soul?
Here’s the great news!
Hidden in the moments you are simply trying to survive are the opportunities to help your child thrive.
We all prefer the loving moments of connection, like a heart-to-heart conversation, over the challenges, like dealing with a bad attitude or battling over time management and responsibility. When your child lies about their homework, disrespectfully talks back, throws a public tantrum or gets you called to the principal’s office, when you discover crayon marks covering the wall or poop smeared all over the crib; these are moments when it feels like all we can hope to do is survive. Yet, they are opportunities, dare I say it, gifts—because survive moments can become thrive moments. When our imperfections are exposed, there is fertile soil where the seed of faith can take root. We love Jesus most when we most see our need for a Savior. We cling to the good news of the gospel strongest when we face problems whose only solution is the good news of the gospel. When things go well, our need for Jesus is harder to discern. When they don’t, this is our opportunity to usher our children and ourselves to the throne of grace.
The Bible is not a book of behavioral management tips. The Bible changes us from the inside out by telling us a story. Understanding the Gospel story requires Bible literacy. Where God’s Word goes, His Spirit follows. We come to the Bible not for advice on living a better life, but to quench our thirsty souls and be transformed by the tale we long to hear again and again.
Reader, my greatest desire is not that you would read the Easter Tree. My greatest desire is that you would read the Bible. The whole thing. I want you to read about the prophecies of a Messiah in the Old Testament, and read in amazement as Jesus of Nazareth fulfills every single one. I want you to marvel at the connection between lamb’s blood on a doorpost, saving children from death, and the Lamb of God, tearing the temple curtain in two and welcoming believers into life.
If you miss Jesus, you miss God. (John 14:6). If you miss Jesus, you won’t know the Holy Spirit. Everything hinges on Christ. Don’t miss Him. All of this is ALL about Him.
George Mueller said that he read the Bible five or ten times more than he read any other book. His aim in life was to glorify God by helping people take God at His WORD. He read the Bible almost 200 times in his lifetime. Many people have not even read it once. William Tyndale, and many others, sacrificed their very lives to have the Bible translated into English. Let us give GOD’S WORDS the place they deserve.
This is our only hope to thrive. Jesus said he came that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). The Bible teaches that Jesus IS God’s Word made flesh. Only by knowing God’s word, and by knowing Jesus, will our souls be truly satisfied.
Jesus also said every letter of God’s Word will last forever (Matthew 5:18). The only thing guaranteed to last from generation to generation is the degree to which we saturate our children with God’s Word. This promise is both sobering and beautiful. Without it, the command in Deuteronomy 6 to talk about his Word “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” seems daunting. With this promise, the command becomes invitation to invest in the only thing that truly matters.
We have six children. Two were born to us. Four were adopted, some as an infant, some as older children. Some were born in the USA, some were born on a different continent. Some score highly on intelligence tests, some have special needs. Some share my ethnic background, others have a different ethnic heritage from mine. The Bible speaks uniquely to all of them, at all stages of their development. Each story may mean something unique to each of us, during each stage and circumstance of our lives. God’s Word will never wear thin. No matter how deeply we plunge into the well of His Word, we will never reach the bottom.
This project is my offering, supplying tools I hope will empower you as a parent to feed your child the scriptures in a meaningful way. I want to share with you routines and traditions centered around Jesus, the living Word. I want you and your children to grow in affection for the Bible, God’s love letter to us. I pray that you and your family connect to one another and to Christ, creating bonds that hold fast for all eternity.
The days are long but the years are short.
Seize every moment, while you may, to bless your children with a love for God’s Word, and subsequently, love for God Himself.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 1st, 2017, we will post a daily video devotional linked to that day’s Scripture passage. The calendar on the right links to the corresponding video. Each day’s video is also available under the “Videos” tab on the menu above.
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