For my kids, Easter baskets always came a week early—on Palm Sunday.
My mother-in-law sewed adorable outfits, matched them with sweet fancy hats, and brought baskets full of goodies. A Palm Sunday tradition which I believe started by my husband’s grandma.
Because that was the day people celebrated Christ’s triumphal entry. Hailing His kingship. His coming kingdom. Palm branches and parties and cheering and shouting, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest” (Luke 19:38, NASB).
Did they understand everything they were saying? No, obviously not, because just a week later, they were crying out, “Crucify Him.”
But Christ didn’t rebuke them. In fact, He told the Pharisees, “If these [people] were silent, the very stones would cry out” (v.40).
No, He didn’t rebuke them.
But He did weep. “Would that you had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (v.42).
Of course, after the fact, we do know what that peace cost. Christ’s life. His death on the cross. A death scientifically planned to bring the most agony. But more than that, it meant Christ, a perfect man, took on our sin.
All of it.
Big or small.
He gave us His righteousness. Changing us to look more and more like Him.
That’s what makes real peace.
But our world—our nation—screams for what it thinks peace is. Like the people two thousand years ago outside Jerusalem, are we looking for that peace in the wrong place?
Whoa, we were talking about sweet Easter baskets, weren’t we? For kids?
And on that first Palm Sunday, kids played a big part.
That day, the people called for peace. Clamoring for a new king that would give them back their country. Overthrow the Romans who ruled over them. Let them rule themselves.
But Jesus knew that wasn’t peace. Not lasting peace, at any rate.
That kingdom wouldn’t last. Because it wouldn’t take long to start arguing about which “them” was fit to rule. (Sound familiar?)
Instead, Christ described a different kind of kingdom. “Let the little children come to Me. For to SUCH belongs the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).
To what? To children. Infants. Babies—Weak. Needing help. Unable to take care of themselves and willing to admit it.
Just ask a newborn mom. When is a baby at peace?
In his mama’s arms. Usually nursing.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (v.17).
Once when we were at an event, we got separated from our five-year-old. We reached the bleachers only to realize we were missing a kid. Looking across the packed gym floor, we saw him sitting high up on a gentleman’s shoulders. Looking for us. Bawling.
Everyone around him knew what he wanted. Knew who he needed.
My son didn’t stop crying until he was back in his daddy’s arms. (And, believe me, my husband took off running to get him.)
That’s the way a child enters the kingdom of God. Knowing his only peace comes from being in God’s kingdom. Knowing only his God can get him there.
To Christ, children were special.
Matthew 21:15-16 proves it.
“But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that [Christ] did and the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant, and they said to Him, ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read,
“Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
You have prepared praise”?’” (quoting Psalm 8:2)
And Matthew 11:25, “I praise You, Father… that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants” (NASB).
There it is. The real Easter hunt.
Oh, that we would accept it like children. With wonder. With excitement. With simplicity. Knowing we can’t do it on our own.
Crying out to Him. Entering into His kingdom. Running into His arms.
Finding Real peace. Through Christ.
All wrapped up as a gift.
The first Easter basket.
And if you’re looking for some sweet Easter (or Palm Sunday) basket gifts for your young child or grandchild, feel free to check out my post at MightyMoms,
Guaranteed NOT to give any sugar-highs. And several of the gifts teach young ones—and old—about the real meaning of Easter.