About This Book

This is Chicken Soup for the Soul's first book written just for Catholics, and it is sure to please all Catholics, from the once-a-year attendee at Christmas Mass, to the devout church volunteer and daily worshipper. With 101 poignant and spirit-filled stories written by Catholics of all ages, this book covers the gamut, including fun stories about growing up Catholic to serious stories about sacraments and miracles. Whether the reader is a cradle Catholic, a convert, simply curious or struggling, these stories describe what it means to be a Catholic.

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Family focus: 8 Tips to teach children the true meaning of Easter

Inspired by stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic Faith and written by LeAnn Thieman

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and LeAnn Thieman

At Easter time, when every store from grocery to gas stations is decked out with colorful plastic eggs, baskets and bunnies, it can be a challenge to teach children the true meaning of the holiday. How can parents and grandparents teach them about the real celebration: the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

These 8 tips help remind them of the true meaning of Easter:

1. Tell them what Easter means to you personally. Share stories about your family’s celebration when you were a child. When they see it is important to you, it will be important to them.

2. Read them storybooks about Easter, geared to their age level. Read the scriptural accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection (found in Matthew chapters 26 to 28, Mark 14 to 16, Luke 22 to 24 and John 18 to 20.) Depending on the age level, young children don’t need to dwell on the brutal details of the crucifixion. Focus on the resurrection; explain to them that Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end of the story. Emphasize joy and excitement of Christ being raised from the dead on the third day.

3. Reflect on Christ’s journey to the cross. Recalling how Jesus prepared in the desert for 40 days before Easter, make a poster of a 40-stone walkway leading to a cross, coloring one stone and saying a prayer for each day until they reach the cross on Easter Sunday. Create a 40-day calendar and write on it good deeds your children and family can do each day, serving others with love as Jesus did.

4. Lend a hand in the community. Make homemade Easter cards to send to family, friends or even strangers. Contact local jails or prisons for permission to send cards to inmates (use only your first names, or sign the cards "Your friend.") Take the cards or homemade Easter baskets to local nursing homes. As a family, help out at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or other outreach ministries. The sacrifice that Christ made will mean more when they see His love being lived out and shared.

5. Make Resurrection Eggs. Buy plastic two-part eggs and fill them with items related to the Easter story. Color pictures or cut some from magazines, for example a chalice, donkey, spear, crown of thorns, small rock or a piece of linen and place one inside each egg. Set aside a special time for hiding and hunting the eggs and talk about each item and its part in the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Leave one egg empty, signifying the empty tomb, and give a prize to the child who finds it.

6. Plant spring flower bulbs 40 days or so before Easter. As they sprout and grow, talk about the symbolism of new birth, from death to life as it relates to our faith and the Easter story.

7. Talk about forgiveness, teaching how Jesus forgives us of our sins and how He even prayed before he died on the cross, for God to forgive those who crucified Him. Encourage your children to talk about or list those whom they will forgive.

8. Go as a family to church services the week leading up to Easter. Share the anticipation of His death and resurrection. On Easter Sunday, fill the house with music and celebration. Hang handmade banners proclaiming, "He Is Risen!"

LeAnn Thieman is a motivational speaker and a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. She is also the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic Faith, Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2. For more information, please visit www. Chickensoup.com and www.LeAnnThieman.com.

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