Sadly, many of our most important Christian holy days have become secular, losing the real meaning of the season. So, it is with both Christmas and Easter because the baby Jesus in a manger has been supplanted by a jolly fat man in red and the Risen Christ of Easter is lost in a tradition of bunnies, candy, baskets, and egg hunts. If you are a Catholic School teacher or administrator, there are festive things you can do as visual aids to emphasize the true meaning of these most sacred of days.
1. Celebrate the True Meaning of Easter
While you can’t do away with everything fun from the secular world, you can still give your students imagery that will plant forever images in their minds. For example, when students return from Easter break, perhaps the class crucifix could be transitioned to a Risen Christ cross in ash wood.
Among the Happy Easter religious items on sites like Holyart, those that give visual representations of the season can work beside the more secular traditions of egg hunts and Easter baskets. These are more likely to be subliminal in nature so that the message is getting across even if kids are writing in their journals about what they did on Easter Sunday and the kinds of candy that filled their baskets.
2. Changing Visuals at Pentecost
Whereas Lent was the period of fasting and repentance leading up to the glory of Easter Sunday, the seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost are symbolic as well. Easter Sunday is the day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ and at Pentecost, the church is reminded that through the Holy Spirit, God is with us until the end of time.
Visual aids at this point would be tongues of fire and the sign of the dove. No, Catholics don’t believe the Holy Spirit is transformed into a dove, but the gifts of the Spirit given on Pentecost are represented by the flame above the disciples’ heads and the Dove of Peace is the sign given to John at Jesus’ baptism. With these visual aids placed strategically around the classroom, they function as reminders of the catechism lessons being taught in class.
3. Have Students Draw Their Interpretation of the Day
Kids of all ages love to draw, color and paint. Why not have an art project in which your students can draw what these scripture lessons say to them. You will be surprised at how they envision Easter Sunday, for example. Some will focus on the crucifixion while others will draw the women at the tomb where they found Jesus wasn’t there. Few will probably show the Risen Christ and why that cross is such an important visual for Easter.
Try to keep their focus on the true meaning of the holy day but even then, some will have that ever-present bunny running along the ground next to the cave where the rock had been rolled away. Even at the best of times, it is going to be difficult to keep young eyes focused on the theology of holy days like Easter, but if presented with imagery that expresses what we are celebrating, the message will still get across loud and clear. Sometimes that’s the best we can hope for, but those Happy Easter religious items as visual aids go a long way toward expressing our faith in a Risen Lord.