Kids are surrounded by the world’s view of Easter. Store aisles are crowded with colorfully woven baskets, stringy Easter (a.k.a. plastic) grass and mounds of candy dipped in various shades of pastel. Bookstores offer dozens of brightly-colored books focusing on the adventures of the Easter bunny. A kids’ CD of Easter songs fails to mention Christ’s death and resurrection even once.
As Christian parents what can we do to emphasize the real meaning?
Here are some suggestions.
We’ve heard about the pastor who, at the end of his sermon on Easter, wished everyone a Merry Christmas. He figured that would be the next time he saw some of his congregation. Don’t become a Christmas-Easter parent. Talk about Christ’s birth, death and resurrection throughout the year. The resurrection of Christ is the very basis of our faith (1 Corinthians 15:17).
During the week before Easter, read the biblical accounts of what happened. Bible storybooks can be good and are great supplemental reading, but also read the biblical account from God’s Word. If you have young children, read just a few verses each day and explain them fully. (Matthew 26:14-75; 27:11-66; 28:1-20/Mark 14:13-72; 16:1-8/Luke 22:1-71; 23:1-56; 24:1-53/John 11:45-57; 12:12-50; 13:1-38)
Some parents stay away from teaching children about the events of the crucifixion so as to not upset children. But we all are sinners, and young children need to know that Christ took the punishment for our sins. Use age-appropriate language in explaining what happened, but kids need facts. (When Awana did our biggest question survey a few years ago, this was one of the biggest questions from Sparks-aged children. What really happened when Christ died?) Don’t sugarcoat a child’s sin or Christ’s death.
Show your children that this is a real place. In fact, if you search the garden tomb on a Web search engine, you will come up with pictures of the place many Bible scholars feel is the very tomb where Jesus was buried. This place matches much of the biblical account of the crucifixion, but even the people who control the property are quick to point out that no one knows for sure where Jesus was buried. However, this will at least give your children an idea of what the tomb looked like.
The narrator gives an easy-to-listen-to description about why scholars think this is the place. I like how the guide says, “This is either the right tomb or an excellent visual aid. Remember, the place isn’t important, but the person behind the place is.” So check it out and either show your kids or use the information from this guide as a basis for talking with your kids.
Many people truly do not understand what Easter is all about. Is there a family in your neighborhood or someone who lives alone who would enjoy some cookies, home-baked bread or cupcakes? Why not work with your children to make gift baskets for these people, including goodies and the good news in the form of a gospel tract or, better yet, a tract your own kids make on the computer. (Make sure everything they say is biblically accurate.)
Some people give their kids Easter baskets earlier in the week so the candy doesn’t outshine the meaning of the day itself. (Another idea is to allow your children to choose candy or another type of treat after Easter because then, not only are the kids getting their candy, but you’re also hitting sales!) Other parents include a gift that will aid their child’s spiritual growth – a new Bible or devotional book etc.
Again, Easter is a time to think about Christ’s death and resurrection in a special way, but every day is a time to thank Him for what He’s done for us.
What do you do to make Easter meaningful to your kids?