Tag: easter (page 2 of 6)

Meals with Jesus

About this time every year, I start looking for family Lent devotionals. And every year I think, Wow, I wish there were more of those. I can find all manner of Advent devotionals, written for readers of all ages, but Lent devotionals are scarce. In fact, looking back at the book reviews on this blog, I couldn’t find a single family devotional that began on Ash Wednesday and ended on Easter.

Imagine, then, my joy at discovering Meals With Jesus.

Meals With Jesus, by Ed Drew | Little Book, Big Story

Ed Drew structures this seven-week devotional around the book of Luke, and follows Jesus through Luke’s account with short readings and activities. This is a versatile book, with reading plans for Lent or any other time of the year, and variations on the questions and games that make them fun for kids of any age. I love how practical and flexible this book is, but my favorite part is Drew’s vision for it:

“Christians are not primarily about an institution, a religion, our habit or a set of behaviors,” he writes in the introduction. “We are about Jesus Christ. As we sit with him at the dinner table, we see who he is: his decision-making, his compassion and his bravery. When we sit with him, we meet the man we spend so long talking about. As we look him square in the eye, we get the chance to make the biggest decisions of our lives. What do we think of him? Do we like him? Do we trust him? Will we dare to follow him?”

This idea of sitting with Jesus and getting to know him is at the heart of Meals With Jesus. It encourages us not just to talk to our kids about Jesus, but to give them the chance, through Scripture, to get to know him for themselves.


Meals With Jesus: A Journey Through Luke’s Gospel for the Whole Family
Ed Drew (2021)


Disclosure: I did receive copies of this for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

Good Friday

I fully intended to share a book with you today. I had one picked out that was perfect for Good Friday (how many picture books are perfect for Good Friday?), but when I sat down to proofread it this morning, I realized that I had neglected to photograph the book. Alas! So instead I will share some resources for observing Good Friday at home.

First: this album, recorded by Gateway Hymns, is full of beautiful music for Good Friday.

Second: Perhaps your church already has a Good Friday service, but if not, you’re welcome to join our church’s online service here. Good Friday is one of my favorite services of the year, as it sets up the joy of Easter morning by giving us room to remember both the necessity and the costliness of the Cross. Both Mitch and I got to participate in this service, and I am so grateful for the chance to meditate on Jesus’ death at a time when we feel the effects of the Fall so keenly.

And when Easter morning comes, may yours be filled with joy! This Lenten season has been unlike any I’ve observed before: we have waited, like the disciples, in sorrow and grief, mourning our losses and wondering what will happen next. But the joy of the Resurrection transforms our suffering—its light pierces these dark days like a beacon. When the sun rises on Easter morning, let’s say it together in our homes, God’s people (for now) dispersed, but unified in him: He is risen.

Observing Lent with The Jesus Storybook Bible

What Advent is to Jesus’ birth, Lent is to his death and resurrection. During the 40 days of Lent, we prepare to celebrate Easter by remembering our need for Jesus. We reflect on our mortality, remembering that we are dust, and we reflect on our need for a Savior willing to die in our place. Lent is, perhaps, not so cozy as Advent, but it is beautiful. And it starts tomorrow.

Over the years, I have found many Advent devotionals and a few excellent two-weeks-til-Easter devotionals. But I have found very few books willing to walk our family through the entire season of Lent. I cannot, in fact, think of any.

Observing Lent with Kids and The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones | Little Book, Big Story

But Sally Lloyd-Jones has a whole-family guide to observing Lent with kids—and the Jesus Storybook Bible. That’s what we’ll be doing this year, and I wanted to share it today so that you, if you’re into this sort of thing, can join us!

The guide features forty days of readings from the Jesus Storybook Bible, as well as a printable paper chain and coloring pages. This will definitely please the younger set of readers in our house, but I know the older girls will enjoy it as well.

Jesus Storybook Bible, Reading Plan for Lent | Little Book, Big Story
Photo: Sally Lloyd-Jones

You can download the guide from Sally Lloyd-Jones’s website for free by subscribing to her mailing letter.


The Jesus Storybook Bible
Sally Lloyd-Jones; Jago (2007)

Jesus is Risen!

One of the difficulties of telling the Easter story to young readers is the fact that the main character, the Creator of the Universe, dies right in the middle. The story doesn’t end there (praise the Lord!), but that is still a dark moment. Authors might soften it by moving Jesus’ death and all the horror of it off stage, but no author can remove it entirely without crippling the story. They shouldn’t.

Jesus is Risen!, by Agostino Traini | Little Book, Big Story

Agostino Traini (author of The Life of Martin Luther) handles this conundrum thoughtfully and begins Jesus is Risen three days after Jesus’ death. Rather than take readers through Jesus’ life or through the timeline of Holy Week, Traini tells the story of the Resurrection itself, from Easter morning to the arrival of the Holy Spirit.

These passages sometimes read, to me, like an epilogue at the end of the gospels (or like a preface to the book of Acts), so I love reading a book that focuses solely on Jesus resurrected. We get to see the disciples’ bewilderment and Jesus’ kindness as he answers their questions, lets them examine him, and cooks them breakfast.

Jesus is Risen!, by Agostino Traini | Little Book, Big Story

Jesus is Risen! would be a beautiful book to read on Easter morning. It is all joy and delight (with pop-ups!), perfect for sharing over Easter breakfast or, if you roll the way we do, early-morning cookies. (You know it’s a true feast day when it starts with cookies.)

Jesus is Risen!, by Agostino Traini | Little Book, Big Story

And to all of you: Happy Easter! He is risen!


Jesus is Risen!
Agostino Traini (2018)

A Very Happy Easter

Exaggerated eyebrows! Dropped jaws! I sometimes miss the depth of emotion in Scripture or the strength with which people respond to Jesus, but a good illustrated Bible story doesn’t bury those feelings. Rather, it lets us see what it looks like to respond to some of the bewildering, awe-inspiring, terrifying events of Scripture the way a human being would—with feeling.

A Very Happy Easter, by Tim Thornborough | Little Book, Big Story

A Very Happy Easter takes this one step further and incorporates those feelings right into the text. Where Tim Thornborough’s excellent Christmas book, A Very Noisy Christmas, invited readers to respond to the story of Jesus’ birth with sound and celebration, A Very Happy Easter invites readers into the story through expression:

“In most books there is work for your eyes and ears. You look at the pictures, and listen to the words. But in this book, there is work for your face too!”

A Very Happy Easter, by Tim Thornborough | Little Book, Big Story

Every time readers see a character react to something in the story, we get to respond by mimicking the expression of the characters. Are they astonished? Let us be astonished too! Are they confused or disbelieving? Well, then, so are we. Startled? Afraid? Amazed? Us too!

A Very Happy Easter, by Tim Thornborough | Little Book, Big Story

This is a great way to engage younger readers, but I have a hunch that my older girls—with some initial eye-rolling, perhaps—will get into it, too. And anything that puts our feet on the ground of the Easter story is a welcome addition to our library.


A Very Happy Easter
Tim Thornborough; Jennifer Davison (2019)


Disclosure: I did receive copies of this for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.