When my kids were little, using Easter eggs to teach children about what we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday was popular. You could buy them already made or put together your own. In each egg there was a little object, representing some part of what happened at the cross. During Holy Week, you’d have your child open the egg and then read a Bible passage explaining the little object in the egg.
I decided that rather than focus on just Holy Week, I wanted to do something with my children for the month leading up to Resurrection Sunday. I wanted to do something like we did during Advent, using those weeks as an opportunity to go through the story of redemption with my children.
That’s how we started doing our Resurrection Tree about five years ago. I found a handmade tree online. Then the boys and I worked on making ornaments for the tree out of paper and everyday items we had around the house. (For kids who like to draw, Shrinky Dinks are another fun way to make ornaments). During the month before Resurrection Sunday, we study a passage of Scripture and then hang the corresponding ornament on the tree.
We go through the story of creation, fall, and redemption. Beginning with the creation account in Genesis, I show them what the world was like before the fall. We then make our way through Scripture, highlighting the promised Savior. The passages we study include the covenant promises God made to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. I include prophesies from the prophets like Isaiah and Daniel. We also cover Jesus’ birth, baptism, miracles, and the calling of the disciples. During the days of Holy Week, the items we hang on the tree are based on Jesus’ final days and hours.
Interested in making your own Resurrection Tree? Below you’ll find a list of the passages that we read as well as suggestions for ornaments to make for your own tree. For a printable copy of these passages, click here.
- Read the story of creation (Gen. 1 and 2)–make an ornament of the earth
- Read story of the Fall (Gen. 3)–make an ornament of a fruit tree or one of a snake. Discuss the promise of a Rescuer in Genesis 3:15.
- Read story of Noah and the Flood (Gen. 6-9)–make an ornament of two animals or an ark. Point out how God saved a remnant, Noah and his family, to ensure that the Savior promised in Genesis 3 would one day come.
- Read story of Abraham and the covenant God made with him (Gen. 15)–make an ornament of a star to represent the countless number of children God promised him. Discuss how God chose Abraham to make a special people for himself.
- Read the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac (Gen.22)–make an ornament of a ram. Point out how this story foreshadows Jesus’ substitutionary death. Like Abraham’s one and only son was saved from death and a ram took his place, God’s one and only son Jesus would take our place. God promises in Gen. 22:18 that all the nations on earth would be blessed through Abraham’s offspring. This is because of what Jesus would do. Galatians 3:29 says that through faith in Christ, we are children of Abraham.
- Read the story of Jacob (Gen. 27 and 28)–make an ornament of a ladder or maybe a picture of a bowl of stew. In John 1:51 Jesus refers to this passage. Jesus is the ladder, restoring sinners to God.
- Read the story of Joseph (Gen. 37, 40-46)–make an ornament of a coat with many colors. God is sovereignly at work in the life of Joseph, keeping his covenant to make a great nation.
- Read the story of Moses and the Passover (Ex. 12)–make an ornament of a lamb. Discuss how Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this story. His blood covers us and protects us from God’s wrath as the lamb’s blood protected the Israelites. For further discussion, read Deuteronomy 18:15. This refers to Jesus.
- Read the story of the ten commandments (Ex.20)–make an ornament of a scroll or slate with the words “The Law” written on it. In Matthew 4:17 Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. Jesus came to do what we could not do. He lived a life of perfect obedience.
- Read about David becoming king (2 Samuel 5 and 7). –make an ornament of a crown. Jesus is a descendent of David. God promised he would always keep a descendent of David on the throne–Jesus is that King. For further discussion, read a few of the Psalms David wrote that Jesus fulfilled (such as Psalm 22).
- Read Isaiah 53–make an ornament of hands (for a servant) or a lamb. DIscuss how this was written hundreds of years before it happened.
- Read Daniel 7:13-14–make an ornament of clouds for the Son of Man coming with the clouds (Jesus is referred to as the “Son of Man” over 80 times in the Gospels)
- Read story of Jonah and refer to Matthew 12:41 where Jesus calls himself as “one greater than Jonah”–make an ornament of a large fish
- Read the story of the angel announcing to Mary the good news that she will bear a son (Luke 1)–make an ornament of an angel
- Read about Jesus’ birth (Luke 2)–make an ornament of a manger
- Read about John the Baptist’s ministry (Luke 3)–make an ornament of locust or honey
- Read about Jesus’ baptism (John 1)–make an ornament of a dove
- Read about Jesus’ temptation (Matthew 4)–make an ornament of a snake or stones. Here Jesus here fulfills what the Israelites could not do in the desert, perfectly obeying God and resisting temptation.
- Read one of Jesus’ miracles such as the feeding of the 5,000–make an ornament of bread or fish
- Read one of Jesus’ parables such as The Parable of the Hidden Treasure in Matthew 13:44-46. Discuss how Jesus is our greatest treasure–make an ornament of a treasure box
- Read the Transfiguration in Mark 9–make an ornament of a white robe
- Read about Jesus predicting his death in Mark 10:32-34–make an ornament reflecting travel as he journeyed to Jerusalem, such as foot prints.
- Read about when Jesus enters the city on a donkey, Matthew 21 (Palm Sunday)–make an ornament of a palm tree
- Read about the anointing by Mary (John 12:3)–make an ornament of perfume
- Read about the Last Supper (Luke 22)–make an ornament of wine or bread. Also read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
- Read about Peter’s denial (Mark 14: 27-31, Luke 22)–make an ornament of rooster
- Read about Jesus’ arrest and trial (Mark 14:23-65, Mark 15:1-20)–make an ornament of a whip. For older children, discuss how these multiple trials violated Jewish law
- Read about the crucifixion in Mark 15:21-40–make an ornament of a cross or nail
- Read about the burial of Jesus (Mark 15:42-47)–make an ornament of a piece of cloth
- Read Luke 24:1-12–make an ornament of a stone, discuss the resurrection and its importance to our faith as in 1 Corinthians 15.