My mom made the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten, and she served it on Easter Sunday with ham, green beans, and all the trimmings. She dressed the table with a pastel linen tablecloth and added a vase of flowers for the centerpiece.
I recall other childhood Easter memories, like egg hunts in our grassy backyard, crisp new dresses with a matching hat or flowered headband, and the sweet fragrance of lilies that permeated the small church we attended.
My husband and I planned Easter activities for our children to help create similar memories. We arranged books about Jesus and Bible bookmarks in their Easter baskets along with the candy to emphasize the true meaning of the day.
Last year I enlisted our oldest granddaughter’s help to focus our attention on the meaning of Resurrection Sunday with a new Easter centerpiece. Beside our traditional vase of pink azalea blossoms, we added the model of Jesus’ empty tomb you see in the title photo. (Directions are at the bottom of this post along with additional Easter ideas for family celebrations.)
What is the meaning of the empty tomb?
What it meant to Mary
When Mary Magdalene wept as she stooped to enter the empty tomb of Jesus, her heart must have felt as empty as the grave appeared. The angels inside asked why she was crying.
She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they put Him.’
John 20:13 NASB
I wonder if those words were hard to say, if her head pounded and her throat tightened with grief. To Mary, the empty tomb and absence of His body represented the loss of her Lord, her teacher, her friend. He was gone. Or so she thought.
After talking with the angels, Mary turned and saw Jesus but didn’t recognize Him until He called her by name. Then …
She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher).John 20:16 NASB
Standing in His presence, we can imagine, her burden of emptiness lifted, her despair turned to hope, and her empty heart filled with joy in His presence.
What the empty tomb means to us
Our model of the tomb reminds us of the reason we celebrate Easter: Jesus arose from the dead. He lives in the hearts of those who surrender to Him in confession and accept His crucifixion as payment for their sin. Once we yield our will to Him, He lifts the burden of emptiness, turns our despair into hope, and fills our hearts with joy in His presence (John 15:11, Romans 15:13, Psalm 16:11).
As believers, we still face grief, trials, and difficult tasks and people. Jesus didn’t promise an easy path devoid of problems, but He did promise an abundant life with Him (John 10:10) and eternal life (John 3:16, John 3:36). What joy we find in walking with Him each day.
As Mary Magdalene did, we can turn away from feelings of emptiness and face our Savior, our Lord, our friend. We can talk with Him and listen to Him in prayer and Bible study as we walk in new life. Like the sun warms the earth in springtime, Jesus shines His light onto us and renews our hearts.
What signs of new life in Christ will family and friends see in us as we turn to Him each morning? How can we imitate God so that children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends see Christlikeness in us?
Would you share your thoughts on opening our hearts to His presence and celebrating life with Him? Creating memories of fun family times is important, but when we center our celebration on the meaning of the empty tomb, we share with our families and others the reason Easter is called Resurrection Sunday.
Creating memories of fun family times is important, but when we center our celebration on the meaning of the empty tomb, we share with our families and others the reason Easter is called Resurrection Sunday. Click To Tweet
I’m eager to read your comments.
The Empty Tomb Easter Centerpiece
Numerous internet sites and Pinterest boards include similar models. Find the one your family would enjoy making. The directions for the pictured model are below.
- Ask children to collect thin sticks and small pebbles. You’ll also need one flat rock that will serve as the stone in front of the tomb.
- Use hot glue to form three crosses (adults only).
- Find a terra cotta or plastic plant saucer to use as the base.
- Lay a tiny flowerpot or substitute container on its side in the plant saucer. Cover it with a firmly packed mound of dirt so that only the opening shows.
- Cover the dirt mound with a layer of moss.
- Arrange pebbles as desired and place the flat stone upright against the dirt, beside the opening to represent the stone that was rolled away.
- Insert the three crosses into the back of the mound.
More Easter Inspiration
Find more Easter inspiration this week on Instagram from my friend, Dawn Bata. I hope you’ll share this link with families you know. https://instagram.com/dawnbata_aheartformoms
For more family ideas, visit my Pinterest Easter board.
P. S. In the next post, we will continue our series on imitating Christ.
28 thoughts on “Celebrate the Joy of Jesus on Resurrection Sunday with a New Easter Centerpiece”
Jeannie, I experienced the thrill of Mary finding that Jesus was alive, complete with chill bumps! Thank you for this post, which renewed in me the wonder of the resurrection.
Glenda, it’s fun to share Scripture, isn’t it? I’m thankful you enjoyed the biblical account as much as I did. May God renew the wonder of the Resurrection in all of our hearts this year. I appreciate you sharing my journey, Glenda.
Among my favorite memories of Easter was the Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt at Lion’s Park on the shores of Lake Alfred on Saturday afternoon. However, Sunday morning was my favorite. There were no denominations; merely Christian brothers and sisters from all around the county who came to worship and praise during a lakeside sunrise service. We could hear the music, singing, and preaching on the clubhouse, but we always busy preparing a free sunrise breakfast (pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, etc.) for the hungry crowd afterwards. Let us always remember to think upon the sacrifice Christ made for us; and the majesty bestowed upon Him on that Sunday morning.
J.D., your comments made me even more excited about Easter. What fond memories you shared of a day that is the bedrock of our faith. May we all celebrate in a way that is as glorious as the way you described. I love your closing sentence: “Let us always remember to think upon the sacrifice Christ made for us; and the majesty bestowed upon Him on that Sunday morning.”
Jeannie, i loved your family ideas and descriptions here. Our family makes an Italian anise Easter bread. But my big take away here was pausing at the words “they have taken away my Lord”. I cannot imagine living one minute without Jesus in my life.
Oh, Marilyn, thank you for your statement, “I cannot imagine living one minute without Jesus in my life.” Walking with Him is an indescribable joy, isn’t it? Your Italian anise Easter bread sounds delicious. I love family traditions combined with celebrations of the Resurrection. Thanks for sharing, Marilyn.
Your words caused Mary’s emotions to come alive in my own heart as she experienced heart-pounding grief thinking Jesus’ body had been stolen away and elated joy over hearing and seeing he was ALIVE! This IS our hope and joy too.
Yes, Carla, I agree. Jesus IS our hope and our joy, too. I’m thankful the account of Mary at the tomb touched you as it touched me. May our Easter celebrations honor the risen Christ. Thanks so much for your comments.
I like your centerpiece, and those flowers are pretty!
Thanks so much, Robin. I sincerely appreciate your compliments. I found the centerpiece and many like it online. My granddaughter and I talked about the first Easter as we made it. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday.
This is a beautiful post, full of reminders of wonderful celebrations of Resurrection Sunday over the years! My favorite one would be hard to identify. Thank you for reminding us to reflect on what this special occasion really means!
I enjoy remembering Easter celebrations, too, Evelyn. I’m thankful your parents and mine taught us the meaning of Resurrection Sunday. Thank you so much for sharing.
I love the centerpiece and it would be so much fun for kids to make while teaching them the lesson of the resurrection. It’s also a great visual lesson for us adults. Thanks for sharing, Jeannie!
Barbara, I agree the centerpiece is a good visual reminder for adults, and a fun way to teach children the true meaning of Easter. I was so excited when I first found the idea. I appreciate your comments.
Such a wonderful idea to make a centerpiece so that our children/grandchildren can participate. Your message is one of hope following fear. We all have those moments when we are afraid; we may even say, “Where is our Lord?” Yet, like Mary, Jesus comes to us when we seek Him, especially in our times of greatest need. Thank you, Jeannie.
Thank you for relating the “hope following fear” we can experience just as Mary did. I’m glad you pointed out that He is the One who seeks us. Have a blessed Easter, Katherine.
Great lesson here! We have to only turn to Jesus to fill our emptiness. Why do we find it so difficult sometimes? Perhaps because we don’t turn to Him when we are full. It must be a daily practice!
Candyce, thank you for reminding us that turning to Jesus daily, even when we’re “full,” helps us remember to turn to Him when we feel empty. As you indicated, we do find it difficult sometimes, but oh, the peace we feel when we share our heart with Him and listen to Him. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a blessed Easter.
What a pretty way to make a memory and focus on resurrection Sunday. I remember when my kids were young and we use to hide eggs and then go to Sunday service. Have a blessed Easter with your family!
Doreen, isn’t it fun to recall childhood Easter memories? Thank you for sharing one of yours. I hope you and your family enjoy celebrating Resurrection Day, too.
Thank you for this family story, and Biblical account of our hope through Jesus’s resurrection. What a gift you gave your granddaughter- Jesus – and us.
Jeannie, this post is beautiful.
I absolutely love the Easter season and always look forward to celebrating with our family.
I love the centerpiece idea ❤️
Thank you for this inspiring post!
I love celebrating Easter, too, Dawn. I miss gathering at my mom’s but have fond memories. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing a comment.
I appreciate your comment so much, Dawn L., and I’m glad you liked the centerpiece idea. I hope you and your family enjoy celebrating Resurrection Day.
What an encouraging post about turning away from our grief and fears towards Jesus as Mary Magdalen did! And a lovely Easter project to remind us of why we celebrate Easter! Thank you, Jeannie
Kathy, I’m glad you thought the post was encouraging and appreciate your comment. Isn’t it amazing how we can read the same Scripture over and over and see new lessons in it. That was my experience when I studied to write this post. Have a blessed Easter.
Resurrection Day is a beautiful remembrance of why we believe, and it serves to remind me of the fact that my loved ones are with Him. It is a day of remembrance, hope, and joy. Your post flows with the love of Christ. Thank you, Jeannie.
Charla, I appreciate your comments so much. You described Resurrection Day so well. I’m praying for comfort and joy for you as you celebrate.