” Celebrating Christmas gives us faith; it affirms that our beliefs have roots in the historical fact of the incarnation.
Celebrating Easter gives us assurance; it affirms that Christ wiped away our sin by his great sacrifice and triumphed over death.
Celebrating the ascension gives us hope and points us toward transformation; it affirms that we can become more and more like Jesus is right now….Without the ascension, we might look around and forget that Christ is the ruling Lord of this fallen, broken world….not just that he will reign when he comes again or that he did reign over death, but that he is reigning right now.”
Jesus conquered sin and death at the cross and resurrection and He will come again and reign. But He also reigns here and now. As Gary Thomas continues, we can participate in the spread of his reign now by “surrendering to his dynamic, life-transforming presence within us, by letting him change the way we see, think, feel, hear, speak, and serve. It’s the life of Christ in us, continuing his work, exercising his reign, manifesting his presence.
Focusing on the ascension of Jesus can help us to recapture the dynamic reality of Christ manifesting himself through us!
With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about how to communicate the glorious nature of the ascension and cultivate in my children and appreciation and understanding of the ascension.
Because of their young age, to start with I’m focusing on an understanding. Although with Xander I’m going to venture into some of the application of Christ’s reign here and now!
Explaining and Celebrating the Ascension to Children
Here are a few ideas:
- Read Acts 1:1-11. Review how Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples instructing them and opening up the scriptures to them in light of his death and Resurrection.
- Read Jesus Returns to Heaven – a book with beautiful illustrations and rhyming text that tells this account or you can check out correlating accounts in The Big Picture Story Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible.
- Count out 40 days on our calendar to the ascension.
- Talk about the great commission. We have a job to do! If you have the book, I’ve Got a Job to Do, read it. It is a wonderful picture book that helps kids connect and build excitement for carrying out the great commission! Discuss with the kids about what this can look like for your family!
- Read Revelation 1:7 in addition to reviewing Acts 1:10-11. Discuss how Jesus will return again the same way he ascended.
- Go look at and admire the clouds. Talk about heaven. Talk about the return of the KING!
- Possibly make this jello clouds in the sky creation. I’m usually pretty anti-sugar and food dye with my kids, so we ended up making this the first time with juice sweetened jell-O and the next time with the store-bought kind. It was a hit both times!
- Do the below presented craft again that we did last year. Last year, we made it from supplies I had around here and creative energy I had available. This year is a little different (pregnancy has a way of doing that.) and I ordered a set from Oriental Trading Company that first gave me the inspiration for this craft. Isn’t it nice to have options!?!?!
Ascension Craft Tutorial
To mark the ascension which occurred 40 days after Easter (that would be Thursday, June 2nd this year), we made this craft so they can re-enact that wonderful event. We had so many beautiful conversations about Jesus, the ascension, His return and Heaven in the weeks following this craft last year!
Supplies you’ll need:
- Blue cups or cups covered with blue construction paper (or possibly painted). We went the construction paper route.
- Cotton balls and glue.
- Jesus paper figurine. I did a google image search and pick an image like this, this or this. (I can’t remember where I found mine last year.)
- ribbon, yarn or thin strip of white tulle or whatever you have on hand.
Start by letting your kids play with the cotton balls and gently pull them apart to make fluffy clouds.
Next let them spread glue on their cups.
(This is the favorite part of the craft in our home… Glue is almost as cool as fire.)
Poke a hole through the top of your cup. Depending on your children’s ages/temperaments and your mood this might be a mommy job.
Thread the tulle/ribbon/yarn through the hole-punch and then poke it through the hole in the cup.
The idea is that you can pull the string and ‘lift’ the Jesus figuring up into the clouds. Let them play and dramatize the story for you over and over and over again!
Becky at Daye by Daye celebrated the ascension with her family and I just love how she specialized and tailored it to her family. Check it out!
If anyone else celebrates this, I’d love to hear how/what you did. Be sure to leave a comment and/or link!