One of my favorite children’s Easter stories is titled “Benjamin’s Box” by Melody Carlson. It is about a little boy that lived during the time of Jesus and his first hand account of the last week of Jesus’ life. I like this story for several reasons, beautiful illustrations, a gentle explanation of events, but mostly because you can also make a “Benjamin’s Box.”
I have used this story with my children’s church classes, as well as with my own children and their friends. Similar to “Resurrection Eggs”, the box with items helps a child to remember the story, and it is a tool for explaining to other children the good news of Jesus.
The story goes that Benjamin’s grandfather gave him a special “treasure box.” Inside was a piece of straw from the manger. During Jesus’ last week, Benjamin collected items reflecting his encounters with Jesus.
Decorating our boxes involved lots of paint, glitter glue, and sparkly things!
After the boxes were dry, I read the story to the kids and passed out mementos for them to put into their boxes.
I also included a little paper with the list of items and their meaning to the story.
The items are:
Straw – Stable of Jesus’ birth
Donkey Fur – Jesus enters Jerusalem
Coin – Judas’ blood money
Cup – The Last Supper
Twig – Jesus praying in Garden of Gethsemane
Leather Strip – Jesus was beaten
Nail – Jesus’ crucifixion
Spear – Soldiers pierce Jesus’ side
Die – Soldiers used to divide Jesus’ things
White Cloth – Jesus’ burial cloth
Stone – Stone in front of Jesus’ tomb
Empty Box – Jesus’ empty tomb and resurrection
The beautiful thing is when your child tells you the story and takes out all of the items, the box is empty! Just like the tomb. Jesus overcame death, appeared to His followers, and ascended into heaven. He did all of this so that we may have eternal life. There is no greater love than this.
Jesus said, “I’ll tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-5.