All about the eggs

One thing I miss about living in Malaysia is the many public holidays we get there – anywhere from Chinese New Year to Hari Raya (Eid) and even Deepavali! Here in Australia, holidays are far and few, but Easter is one of them and is especially  meaningful to us.

We go to church on Saturdays and I am involved in something I’m passionate about – children’s ministry! I never used to be – in fact, I used to think I would be awful with kids and just felt awkward when little kids would talk to me and ask me to act in roleplay games or sing silly kids songs. And then I had a child, and I discovered the child in me!

Now that I have kids, I really enjoy trying to teach my children in creative ways (even though I am not exactly artsy and am nowhere near “Pinterest mum” standards). I’m also a bit frugal with my art i.e. I can’t justify spending a lot on supplies. Hence resulting in an art project like this – Jacob painting with homemade flour/salt/food colouring paint on the back of a nappy box! No art smocks in this house!

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Anyway, for Easter, I wanted to do something simple for the kids so I made a little Easter activity pack for them so they could have something to do during the sermon. I found a little Jelly Bean Prayer/poem that can help kids remember the significance of the event through colours. The word search was more for the primary aged kids, a colouring sheet and stickers, which are always well received. I also made a threading cross our of card and gave the kid some yarn to build their motor skills – sadly Jacob was more interested in tying it around his head and pretending it was a crown (still on topic I suppose, Jacob).

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I found a really cute video about the significance of Easter, which I don’t think Jacob really understands yet, but I do hope that in time he’ll be able to grasp it and also take it seriously. Sometimes I worry about his lack of empathy, or the fact that he finds it funny that Goliath got hit in the head and that Jonah got eaten by a fish. Hmm… another post about empathy for another day perhaps.

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We also listened to the Easter sermon about eggs – I mean resurrection eggs! You can buy them from Koorong or any Christian bookstore, and they’re fun for toddlers. The kids were called up to the front to open up the eggs. Here’s what the kids found in the eggs:
A little donkey, silver coins, chalice, praying hands, whip, rooster, crown of thorns, nails in the shape of a cross, spear, linen cloth, stone and the last one was empty.
Do you know the significance of these symbols in the Easter story?

And finally, while I know that it is more commercialism than anything else, but why not get in on the whole chocolate egg business? We had an egg hunt at church and also at my brother-in-law’s place – here are our munchkins feasting on their spoils (which we eventually removed from them before they ate their own weight in chocolate)!

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I hope all of you have had a blessed Easter and may we remember the true meaning of the season.

But He was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

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Happy Easter!

Firstly, I apologise for the hiatus – I should have given some notice as I knew I would be busy! We’ve actually been away for a week-long church camp and it has been amazing! I was involved in the Kids Program and helped out a bit with Women’s Ministries too, so was really busy but enjoyable all the same. More updates on it in the coming posts, but I have to show you this picture of Jacob (nearly) kissing a lamb:

ImageTo give you a bit more reading material, the articles I wrote are finally published. This one is an interview with a Malaysian father and his perspective on children growing up in Australia, while this one talks about lessons on change.

But, for now, I want to talk about Easter and what it means to me. Aside from eggs, chocolate and bunnies, it has a deeper meaning for me. It’s usually around this time as well that I look at my life and ponder upon why Jesus would die for someone like me. I’ve made so many mistakes over my lifetime, hurt so many people (including myself) and disappointed God over and over again with my choices. Yet, Jesus chose to shed His blood for me, and for everyone else in the world.

I don’t mean to make this a preachy post – it’s more a contemplation of my own beliefs and how it’s made me grow as a person. I know that I have many worldly visions – I want to travel the world, want to have a career or at least a business to run on the side and want to have a bigger and better life for my family. And while it isn’t wrong to have these visions, I realise how small they are when I look at the bigger picture. I often worry about what to do with my life and what direction I should take, but I also know that life is not fully in my own control, and that there are bigger forces at work.

Many years ago, I went to an Easter play that moved me to tears. I had only heard the song once before, but it was clearly put into context when I heard them singing it while playing out the scenes that led to Jesus’ death. If you’re a fan of female gospel, you have to listen to Nicole Nordeman. Really meaningful lyrics, particularly with this song – basically, a little girl’s point of view of the cross.

It’s funny that things seem to be more touching when put in the eyes of a child. Perhaps it’s the innocence that tugs at our heartstrings, or the fact that we want to shield and protect them from things that could hurt them. Jesus was innocent – a blameless man, with the sin of the world (including mine) upon His shoulders.

But I do like the ending of the Bible story so many of us know. Jesus is crucified on Friday, he rests in the tomb on the Sabbath, but on Sunday the tomb was empty. He conquered death, and through Him there is another life waiting for us.

I’m not one to cry very often (hence I actually remember the times I cry!) but this year, this song really moved me. It’s a new-ish song by Hillsong, but I like the acoustic version better. But of course, it’s the words again that truly touch me:

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Hope you all had a beautiful Easter! 🙂

Jacob plays baby Jesus!

At long last, the day finally arrived – Jacob’s first stage performance!

We had the privilege of participating in the Living Nativity which is part of the Lobethal Lights. As I mentioned in a previous post, a little country town called Lobethal lights up during Christmastime – houses put on their most dazzling displays and there are markets, pageants and so on. In the middle of the main street, a nativity scene is conducted, telling the story of the birth of Jesus.

I remember first witnessing this nativity scene two years ago – our church choir sings in it once a year, and it was a festive event indeed. It’s a really amazing experience for kids and tourists too as it really brings the scene to life – there are live animals, and of course, a live baby Jesus. 

ImageSo first, we got dressed. Daniel’s all dressed and ready to go, but my costume is a bit more complicated. Jacob didn’t need a costume as he was just supposed to be swaddled in a wrap. Unfortunately, the day’s temperature reached 41 degrees and it was still quite warm that night, so a wrap was not the best idea. 

ImageAnd here’s Joseph and Mary. I had so many layers to my costume that I was steaming hot in it! And I wasn’t allowed to wear glasses as, obviously, they didn’t have glasses back in the day. So I was a bit slow cos my vision was impaired, due to the heat and also because I still had a stuffy head (surviving on Panadol).

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Jacob was obviously Mr Popularity – he was a hit with the angels! I made it a point to give him lots of good naps (he had a good 2.5 hour one before) and he was in a great mood then. He was fed, changed and loved by the multitudes.

ImageSo, naturally, when we get on stage, he screams his head off. Sigh. Typical baby. I couldn’t blame him on a 35 degree night, honestly. I’m sure baby Jesus cried at some point anyway. In the first performance too, he grabbed my costume and my headdress came off – it was probably slipping anyway from the slippery hair and sweat! Gabriel had to come and fix it for me. And I was going to feed him quickly between the performances, but he fell asleep and was an angel for about a minute and then woke up in the middle of the second performance, where he had perfected his mortified wail.

It was funny that he somehow found the right cues to cry at, which made it quite funny really. Examples:

1. The first of the three kings presents him with a gift of gold – as soon as he puts it down in front of Jacob, WAAAAAAAA! (Clearly he doesn’t like gold)
2. Angels crouching around him singing “Silent night…” WAAAAAAAAAAAA! (Not very silent unfortunately)
3. The whole cast singing “We wish you a merry Christmas!”… WAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! (Not very merry either)

Other points to note were the animals. Goodness me, they were cute! My favourites were the calf and the kid (goat), who were relatively playful and insolent. In the first performance, the little goat refused to move back into position and had to be dragged by the shepherd. In the second performance, the calf did the hugest pee in the world right in the middle of the set. Hilarious!

ImageBut despite my screaming child, I decided to take it in my stride and smile and try to have a good time. Really, I did feel quite proud to be part of the production (and the photos don’t show that he’s screaming his head off anyway). It really is a great memory and something we can look back on and laugh at together. And it certainly has made his first Christmas extra special.

Credits to my mum in law for her awesome photos! Go paparazzi nanny! 🙂

For any of you who haven’t yet gone to see this, you have to! The festival still continues to Dec 30th and you can find out more here:
http://www.lightsoflobethal.com.au/