Holy Week is upon us. It is a time to enter into the suffering Christ, to relive His willing suffering and death as an atonement for our sin and ultimately, His resurrection to show that He had defeated death and the grave.
As Christians, we should walk through this week with intentionality.
From Palm Sunday to our celebrations of the Resurrection, we should be remembering Christ’s actions in His final days and commemorating His death and resurrection as the world-changing, radically redeeming acts that they are.
If you’re looking for a daily Holy Week devotional with activities for each day, you can download the free the Holy Week Devotional Guide in The Thin Place Resource Library!
As we prepare for Holy Week, here are ideas on ways to celebrate each day and a few ongoing things to be doing throughout the week.
1. On-Going Activities:
- Lenten Reading and Prayer – Continue on with Bible reading to help draw you into the Lenten season and dedicate yourself to prayer. This year, I will continue on with The Bible in Lent Reading Plan but the Holy Week Guide also has reading suggestions specifically for Holy Week.
- Sacrifice Beans (to be replaced with Jelly Beans) – This is a simple, visual reminder of offering up little sacrifices in light of Christ’s sacrifice. Put a jar in the center of your table. Throughout the week, whenever you offer up a small sacrifice or act of kindness, put a bean in the jar. On Easter morning, replace the beans in the jar with delicious jelly beans and remember how Christ’s willing suffering on the cross has redeemed suffering by making it the means in which Death was defeated.
- Watch The Passion of the Christ/The Price of Egypt – The Prince of Egypt is a great, kid-friendly watch to gain a historical perspective on the Passover celebration and what it means for Christ to be our Passover Lamb. The Passion of the Christ is for older audiences but is an impactful way to remember the agony Christ suffered on our behalf.
- This “Holy Week in Handprints” craft for kids is a simple, fun way to help them visualize each day of Holy Week. Pro-tip: If paint is too messy for you this week, swap for crayon outlines instead!
2. Palm Sunday – The Day Christ Enter Jerusalem on a Donkey
1. Every Palm Sunday, I re-read this beautiful article from Haley Stewart. It is beautiful. If you do one thing this week, read this article.
2. If you receive palm branches at your church on Palm Sunday, make them into a cross to display throughout Holy Week! It is a great way to visualize that while Jesus entered Jerusalem with shouts of praise and exclamation on Sunday, in a few short days, He would suffer a brutal death. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to fold palm crosses!
3. Holy Monday – Jesus Overturns the Tables in the Temple
Holy Monday is the day Christ overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple. His anger was righteous anger as He said the house intended for prayer had been turned into a den of robbers.
Today, make pretzels! Pretzels are a traditional lenten food both because they met the guidelines of which foods could be eaten during traditional Lenten fasts and because the folding of the pretzels reminded them of arms/hands folded in prayer. Take some time today to make pretzels (homemade pretzels are delicious and totally worth the effort) and spend some extra time in prayer.
4. Holy Tuesday – Mary Anoints Jesus’s Feet
On Holy Tuesday, Mary anointed Jesus’s feet with lavish, expensive perfume. In commemoration, today is a great day to show extravagant love to others, particularly to the poor as Jesus
5. Spy Wednesday – Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
Wednesday is the day Judas, one of Christ’s disciples, agreed to betray him for 30 coins. This is a good day to examine your own life and confess any hidden sins. If Judas, who walked with Jesus for years, could betray him for an insignificant amount of money, we would be wise and be mindful of our own priorities.
6. Maundy Thursday – The Last Supper
Maundy Thursday is the day Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, commanding them to love and serve one another, and instituting during the Passover meal the Eucharist.
1. Wash Feet – Just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, wash the feet of those in your home. This is a great way to show love and humility. While it certainly will cause a few giggles, it will also leave a lasting memory and is a great tradition to incorporate into your Holy Week.
2. Attend a Maundy Thursday service – Maundy Thursday is my favorite service of the year. If your church doesn’t have a Maundy Thursday service, consider branching out and visiting a neighboring church for this service!
3. Thursday Night Prayer Vigil – Jesus asked His disciples to stay and pray with Him in the Garden as He prepares for the suffering and death He is to endure. But the disciples cannot stay awake, they cannot pray with Him even an hour. Many churches host all-night prayer vigils on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Christ’s prayer in the Garden. Joining in a local service or spending an hour prayer individually is a beautiful tradition.
7. Good Friday – Jesus is Crucified and Dies
On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and willingly died for our sins.
1. Fast – Fasting has been a traditional way of expressing sorrow over sin and reliance of God. As such, most Christians have taken up the practice of fasting on Good Friday.
2. Observe Silence from 12-3 – Christ was suffering on the cross from noon until He died at the 3 o’clock hour. Set aside this time for quiet reflection and prayer. Physically treat this time differently. If possible, try and observe silence as much as possible for these 3 hours.
3. Pray the Stations of the Cross – The Stations of the Cross as a reflective way to meditate on Christ’s suffering and pray. Here is a great video to use in your home.
8. Silent Saturday
Holy Saturday is a day of waiting. A day of living in the tension of Good Friday while still resting in the hope of Sunday.
1. Consider continuing on your Good Friday Fast – If you’re able, it is traditional, although difficult by most modern standards, to continue your Good Friday fast until sundown on Saturday to continue a reflective, mourning atmosphere.
2. Prepare for the Easter Feast – Today is the day to prepare for your Easter feast! Start baking, do any last-minute grocery shopping, and prep! If your church has a blessing for Easter food, take it up to be blessed.
3. Put away Lenten decorations and pull our Easter decor – Today is also the day to pull down all of your Lenten decor and replace it with Easter reminders that He is risen!
4. Make Resurrection Rolls – This quick little recipe is such a fun way to remember how they prepare Christ’s body for burial but when they came back, the tomb was empty.
9. Easter Sunday
Join a Sunrise Service – If your church does not have a Sunrise Service (or if maybe it’s just hard to get everyone out the door in their Easter best before sunrise!), then celebrate the sunrise as a family. Make your coffee, sit on the porch, watch the sunrise, and read the Easter story as a family. Ask your children if they have a hymn or favorite song they’d like to sing in praise.
Party hard today but continue to celebrate all 50 days of Easter! Especially for the first week of Easter, known as the Easter Octave, try and do something special each day to recognize our Risen Lord’s triumph over the grave!
I hope these ideas have given you some practical ways to celebrate Holy Week!
While you may want to do all of the suggestions, they’re meant to be suggestions for you to take and use as fits best into your life. If only 1-2 ideas are doable in the whole week, do 1-2 ideas throughout Holy Week. If you’re able to do 1-2 ideas a day, do 1-2 ideas a day.
Do whatever will most allow you to remember the rest we’ve won through Christ and His actions that have won that rest for us.