On Celebrating New Life in Springtime

It is springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. Spring is a tangible way in which we see how our lives are changed by God’s grace. All around us, the “dead” is “coming back to life” and growing, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is the perfect time for us to talk with our children about the new life that Christ brings to us through His death and resurrection, as we see the miracle of new life all around us in this season!

We have just come through Great Lent, a spiritual “season” that is a flowering springtime for our souls and should bring us new hope. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware once spoke of the words of the Lenten Triodion in an interview, “Lent is spiritual springtime. Not winter, but spring. The world of nature is coming alive round us during the Lenten season. And this should be a symbol of what is to happen in our own hearts. The dawning of springtime… It goes on to speak of repentance as a flower that is opening. We shouldn’t just have a negative idea of repentance, as feeling sorry, gloomy and somber about our failings. But repentance, rather, is new hope. An opening flower. How our lives can, by God’s grace, be changed.” (http://myocn.net/metropolitan-kallistos-ware-memorizing-scripture/) That change is a continual process, and God continues to offer other reminders of His work in our lives.

The “resurrection” that is happening all around us in nature during the springtime season gives us physical reminders to celebrate Christ’s resurrection! According to Fr. Theodore Ziton’s article for the Word magazine in April 1959, “Winter is now past! The snow is gone, and the gardener prunes his trees and vines for another harvest. Nature joyfully cries out: ‘Stop, look and listen for spring is here!’ Yes, there is a glorious resurrection in nature. STOP! or you will tread upon the tender flowers that have just risen from the dead. LOOK! and you will see that old tree whose branches in winter resembled the long arms of a ghost, but now the tree begins to bloom with fragrant apple blossoms. LISTEN! and you will hear the singing bird so full of song that it seems he will burst his little throat. The earth sounds a note of joy and gladness. Everyone picks up the melody and intones the words:  ‘Stop, look and listen, for there is a resurrection in nature.’

Yes, the winter of Calvary is past; the storm of sorrow is gone, and Jesus the Nazarene, whose very title in Hebrew means the Flower, has appeared in glory today. Beautiful was that Flower when it took its roots in the dark cave of Bethlehem. Fragrant was that Flower when it was bruised and pinned to the Cross which became its vase: but glorious is that Flower today, for It now fully blooms never to wither away again.”   (http://www.antiochian.org/content/april-18-2012-empty-tomb)

While we think about the Lenten springtime and the physical resurrection of the world which points to Christ’s resurrection, let us truly celebrate springtime! We honor springtime not just for its beauty (although that is certainly worth celebrating) or for the joy that the warm sun brings (also worthy of accolades, especially after a very cold winter!). Rather, we celebrate springtime because God uses it to remind us of the glory of resurrection; especially of Christ’s resurrection. We don’t want to miss celebrating THAT!

So, how can we celebrate it? What can we do with our children to help them (and us) properly commemorate what is going on around us? We did a little research, and here is what we found:

Here are a few scripture-related spring activities that can help you to celebrate springtime:

1. Work together to illustrate these Bible verses about spring. You can write them with fancy letters (or print them out with a decorative font), draw pictures to illustrate them, or take photos to show what they are saying.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.” Song of Songs 2:12-13

“Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1

2. Go on a spring Bible verse (outdoor) scavenger hunt! Look up the Bible verses, write down the answers, go on a hunt for the items and take a picture of them. Print the pdf found at: http://rachelwojo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Spring-Bible-Verse-Scavenger-Hunt.pdf

3. Find spring things in the Bible, in this (indoor) scavenger hunt: http://christianhomeschoolmoms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Spring-Bible-Hunt-PDF.pdf

Here are a few (not necessarily “religious,” but definitely fun and usable) ways to intentionally celebrate spring:

  1. Find 150 ideas of activities for kids to do in the spring at http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/03/spring-kids-activities.html
  1. Find free printable spring-themed coloring sheets here: http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com/Just_Color_Spring.pdf
  1. Slow down and savor spring with your children with these ideas: http://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/spring-bucket-list.html
  1. Read A Butterfly Is Patient, An Egg is Quiet, or A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston. Talk about how God transforms the butterfly/egg/seed and how He also transforms us! http://diannahaston.com/books-and-reviews/a-butterfly-is-patient-2/

Resurrection is well illustrated to us in the spring. One can especially see it by observing butterflies, flowers, and seeds/plants. Here are ideas related to each of those examples of new life:

BUTTERFLIES:

Read this story about a caterpillar changing into a butterfly just as we are being/will be changed by Christ:  http://www.christianitycove.com/spring-object-lesson-caty-caterpillar/4774/

Help a caterpillar become a butterfly in this maze with Corinthians 5:17: http://www.akidsheart.com/holidays/spring/iicor5_17spr.htm

Visit a Butterfly House as suggested in this educational blog. Check out the blog’s many, many links to butterfly books and activities, as well: http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/butterfly-crafts-butterfly-activities-learn-about-butterflies

Try your hand at butterfly crafts:

Make a butterfly journal cover. Find a template and directions here: http://family.disney.com/crafts/butterfly-journal-cover

Make ribbon butterflies into a pin/barrette/magnets: http://family.disney.com/crafts/fairy-butterfly-barrettes-and-pins

Create coffee filter butterflies: http://www.mommygaga.com/2012/03/spring-crafts-for-kids-coffee-filter-butterfly-craft.html

Older children will enjoy making these origami butterflies: http://goorigami.com/single-sheet-origami/origami-butterfly/3006

FLOWERS:

Find connections between spring flowers and our faith (ie: dead bulbs grow into tulips, as when we die with Christ, we bloom beautifully in His kingdom) http://www.christianitycove.com/spring-faith-flower-craft-lesson/4746/

Create flower crafts:

Make lollipop flowers with these directions: http://www.redtedart.com/2014/01/28/tissue-paper-flower-lollipops/

Learn how to make tissue paper flowers with these directions: http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/paper-crafts/paper-flowers4.htm

Younger children will enjoy making these cupcake paper/button/popsicle stick flowers (picture only): http://homicraft.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/easy-spring-kids-crafts.jpg

Older children will enjoy the challenge of these more complicated flower crafts: http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2014/04/50-flower-crafts-spring.html

SEEDS/PLANTS:

“Dead” eggshells and dead-looking seeds become faces with fun, growing hair in this gardening activity: http://nurturestore.co.uk/eggheads-with-cress-hair

Plant bulbs inside to watch them “come to life” and bloom: http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/02/learning-about-spring-bulbs-older.html

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