September 14th marks an important feast day, and we have an Exaltation of the Holy Cross activity to help you celebrate! First, a bit of background on this feast day.
To Christians worldwide, the cross symbolizes the essence of their faith: that by the cross Christ died and yet rose again. The cross became a symbol of Christ’s resurrection and our salvation a very long time ago during the time that Constantine ruled over the Roman Empire. It was actually Constantine’s mother who, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, had the Temple of Aphrodite taken which (tradition holds) was built atop Christ’s tomb. As the workers were removing the rubble and constructing the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, they unearthed the remains of three crosses. A local woman, near death, came about and touched one of the crosses, and was healed. Almost immediately the cross became the symbol of modern-day Christianity, and it is celebrated each year on September 14th – the dedication date of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.
Today’s Exaltation of the Holy Cross activity / project is a wonderful one perfect for young toddlers all the way through adults. To be honest, I think the moms that helped their toddlers paint (as shown below) had just as much fun as the little guys! This is a great project to do either as individuals or as a group – we did it as a group with six of our little friends and all had so much fun.
- washable paint (I used Crayola washable)
- foam paint brushes
- canvases (multipack)
- blue painter’s tape
HOW TO MAKE
- Tape off a cross with the blue painter’s tape on your canvas. Play around with the ends of the cross until you find a style you like…you can leave the tape edges rough, straight, pointed, etc. Be creative! Just be sure to really press the tape down so paint can’t leak under the tape.
- Let your kids paint away! A really great tip that one of the moms in our group came up with was to – for younger children – let them paint with complimentary colors…for example, blue, yellow, and green. This prevents that dirty brown color from taking over the canvas when too many colors get mixed together. (This same mom is also an accomplished writer and shares her ideas on how to incorporate Christ in your marriage HERE).
- Depending on the age of your children, you may need to go back and do a bit of touch-up around the cross. While getting paint on the entire canvas is up to them, you’ll want to make sure the borders of the cross are fully painted…as in, there is no white canvas showing around the edges of the cross.
- Let the Exaltation of the Holy Cross canvas dry overnight, pull off the painters tape, and enjoy the Feast Day with your new cross!
“How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life” (Theodore of Studios).
Just for fun, this post links up at these great Catholic and quilting sites!