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You would think that having a spouse in full-time ministry would make you more mindful of and motivated to come up with ideas to celebrate holidays like Easter and Christmas. However, I find that I need to be more intentional about making these hallmarks of our faith meaningful for my kids because it is easy to see them as “just another work day”.
Since my husband is the Media Director of our church, he has been working practically non-stop on their Easter production, which kicked off today with Palm Sunday.
Even as regular church goers we can become complacent about the message we’ve heard over and over, that Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day. But what does that really mean for us and for our children? How can we renew a sense of awe for the Gospel this season?
With Easter fast approaching, I’d like to offer some simple, practical ways that we can focus on its real meaning with our children. We want to fill their hearts and minds with truth that outlasts the taste of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and Marshmallow Peeps (mmm).
1. Watch a kid friendly film about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
My personal favorites are What’s in the Bible? Volume 10: Jesus is the Good News! and The Jesus Movie. These are both age appropriate in their portrayal of the events leading up to the cross and the cross itself. They don’t water down the Gospel, but they don’t contain graphic images either that may be disturbing for kids.
Be prepared to answer questions your children may have about what they’ve watched and help them process it, but don’t feel the need to give lengthy explanations. A biblical dissertation will just go right over their heads! Share what God lays on your heart about how that first Easter Sunday has impacted your life.
2. Start a “Count Down To Easter” Calendar
Set aside several colorful plastic eggs and fill each one with a piece of paper that has a different Easter activity written on it- scripture verse to be read, craft to do, etc. Open one every evening (or a special designated time) leading up to Easter and do what’s listed together!
3. Make Resurrection Eggs
These are an interactive and concrete way to talk about different parts of Holy Week that may be hard for young kids to wrap their minds around. I found step by step directions here at Life Your Way to make your own. Basically, you just need an assortment of plastic eggs and various symbols to represent different pieces of the Easter Story.
The cards that go with each symbol are also included; you just print out on cardstock, cut, and color. When the kids are done coloring, staple them together to make a mini book! You can do it all at one time, or one per day to correspond to each symbol.
4. Listen to songs that speak about the cross
During your regular devotional time, or some down time, throw up a video on the tv of a particularly meaningful worship song from YouTube (or listen to one on a CD). Afterwards, talk about a few of the lyrics. I really like Kari Jobe’s “Forever” and Matt Maher’s “Come Awake”, because they specifically mention Jesus being raised to life and triumphing over sin and death.
5. Read an Easter picture book
Gather together on the couch with your kiddos and read through God Gave Us Easter by Lisa Tawn Bergren, or the Easter account from a children’s Bible.
When you’re done reading, have your kids color a picture that goes with the story, or if they’re older they can draw one of their favorite parts. Reinforce what they’ve just learned while they are doing this activity.
However you choose to prepare for Easter with your children, remember to focus on hope. Since the tomb was found empty that morning 2,000 years ago, we have the hope of eternal life. We have the hope of overcoming emotional and spiritual bondage.
Because He lives, as the song goes, we can face tomorrow! The Easter story is just another fairy tale without the message of redemption and victory over darkness.