Oh, yes! Pictures and objects come alive in the mind of a child. The colors wave as we tie them to the doorposts. The objects on the shelves and walls and windows have meaning. See, touch, hear what God has said.
This year, although I put a lot of thought into what I put up, I didn’t have a lot of time. There are several ideas that didn’t get implemented. (My mind always plagues me with millions of ideas that I can’t implement! Is it just me?) Simple is often better I’m learning and it also gives us room to add on over the years. The visuals I set out on display are meant to tell a story. I hope that the kids see and ask why. I’ve been putting things up slowly over the Lenten season as I have found time, and it’s pure joy when I hear the kids discover something new is up. “Why did you put up a Lion, Mom?”
…and the storytelling begins.
The color red: This color is very vivid in the days leading up to the Resurrection. It’s hanging over the doorframe as the blood of the lamb did at passover. It’s hanging with the cross and the thorns and reminding us of the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God – a sacrifice of blood on the cross. Brown, rough wood is a harsh visual of the cross and the thorns. In contrast, the rare colors of purple and blue will be on our table Palm Sunday reminding us of the royal King who truly did come…but not as people expected, not ready to fight with an army, but to die. Black will come out on the Friday of Jesus’ death. It will make our house dark and remind us of the sin Jesus’ was accused of and died in punishment for – my sin. Green appears as well in the form of plants and pictures or wreaths of plant life. This is a perfect picture of a Christian who has found life and is growing instead of dying. Is a song starting to come to your head? In truth, the colors of Easter look more like the wordless book or The Color Song at our house… and that’s on purpose. (My slight aversion to pastel colors may have encouraged this a bit as well.)
The color white: The blood and the darkness are forgotten, concealed by the brightness of this light…the Light, whiter than any white we can imagine. Pure. Powerful. This is the perfect color to represent our Risen Lord and it will flood our home on Easter morning. I put up everything white and light that I can find around the house – strings of lights, candles, wreaths, flowers, foods. The crosses and thorns and blacks and reds will be taken down and replaced Easter morning with white, beautiful white.
Objects and pictures: Children remember things they can touch and see, but they also remember stories. A crown of thorns on a shelf tells a story. A Lion and a Lamb tells a story. Colorful eggs, dirt tombs with round stones, seeds, and large nails tell stories. And once the child has heard the story, they retell it to anyone who wants to know. This is the beauty of story telling and it’s how it gets passed down to the next generations. “Tell me the story again!” is the cry of every young child. So we do it every year with a new object in hand.