Palm Sunday is approaching, which means Lent is nearing its end. This is a good time to reflect on the Passion of Christ.
Here is a writing activity that helped this to come alive for my children.
First, let your children choose one of the fourteen stations of the cross. Looking together at the pictures of the fourteen stations, encourage them to choose one and mentally “put” themselves in the station, and then write about what they see, hear, smell, and how they feel. The idea is for them to use their senses to vividly describe the scene.
For example, your child might choose to be one of the women in the 8th Station (Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem), or maybe Simon in the 5th Station (Simon helps Jesus carry His cross).
Whichever station is chosen, talk to your children before they write anything, and try to recreate what it must have been like to be there as Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross):
- What kind of noise would you have heard?
- Was it crowded, and were the people full of anger, or sadness, or sympathy?
- How did their actions reflect their emotions?
- Did some have conversions (think about the epic movie Ben Hur) as they watched Christ, the Son of God, suffer and die a terrible death?
- If so, what were they thinking, and then what did they do?
Trying to imagine being in that scene will make the station more real for your children. It helps them understand the gravity of what Christ did for us. It certainly did for my kids.
This is a more somber and serious type of writing exercise for children, but one that is very important. After all, there is no Easter without the cross.
This activity is suitable for upper elementary children to middle school children.
For younger children, you can easily adjust the activity by having them choose a station and draw the scene, labeling the name and number of the station. Talk about what was happening in the station, asking them to describe what is happening. This can be done with six year olds and up.
Focusing on a single Station of the Cross and making that scene come more “alive” is a great way for you and your children to deepen your reflection on the sacrifice Christ made for all of us on the Cross — and it will make an even richer experience when you pray the full Stations of the Cross at church with the rest of the Body of Christ.
May God bless you and your family — the domestic church — during this Lenten Season!