Several weeks ago my three-year-old, Eli, came home from church brokenhearted. After several moments of crying we finally pried out what was troubling him. “I want . . .” sob, sob, “Jesus to give me,” sob, sob, “my heart back” he wailed.
It seems that someone at church had asked Eli about giving his heart to Jesus. Our very literal three-year-old was crushed by the thought that Jesus had taken his heart. He didn’t understand what Jesus was going to do with his heart, and he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to function without it.
This whole encounter, while adorable, has me a little petrified about Easter. How do I explain to my toddler that Jesus died on the cross but remains the Giver of all life? How can I expect his tiny mind to grasp that the Friday before Easter is called Good Friday because the horrible death that Jesus endured is the best news the world has ever known? How do I describe the empty tomb?
So, I’ve been doing what every panicked mother does—I’ve been Googling. I’ve come up with a great list of ways to teach Jesus’ death and Resurrection to young hearts and minds. Since I know many of you are moms, grandmas, aunts, and friends who deeply desire to teach God’s Truth to the little ones in your sphere of influence, I thought I’d pass the list on to you.
Here are six great ways to teach the Resurrection to the kids around you this Easter.
1. Dye eggs certain colors and use them to tell the story of salvation. I’d recommend using the colors commonly used in “salvation bracelets” as listed below.
Purple = Grace
Black = Sin
Red = Blood of Christ
White = Forgiveness
Green = Eternal Life
Gold = Heaven’s Street
2. Attend a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday Service. Your children will notice that you are attending church at a different point in the week than usual which will open up dialogue about Easter.
3. Send Easter cards. Have your children help you decorate and address Easter cards to friends and relatives. Explain that while many people do not send Easter cards, your family chooses to do so because this holiday is so special.
4. Tell the Easter story like you would the Christmas story. Many families have a tradition of reading the Christmas Story from the Bible as a family. That same tradition translates well for Easter. At our house I type out passages about Jesus’ death, Resurrection, and ascension and cut them into small pieces of paper. Each dinner guest gets one segment of Scripture and we go around the table and read them before we eat our Easter meal. Passages to include are: Matthew 27:45-54, Matthew 27:62-66, Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-20, Luke 24:1-49, John 20:1-25.
5. Acknowledge Good Friday. The wonder of the empty tomb is lost unless we take time to explain to our kids what happened three days before.
6. Bake Resurrection cookies. All kids love to bake cookies. These Easter Story Cookies help you tell the story of the Resurrection step by step as you cook. You place them in the oven the night before Easter and the cookies are ready Easter morning. Each cookie is hollow inside to symbolize the empty tomb.
We grown-up types can become desensitized to the Easter story, can’t we? We know that Jesus died for our sins. We’ve heard the story about the stone rolled away and can recite by heart how the empty tomb was discovered. But, my son’s childlike faith is reminding me anew of the wonder of it all. Jesus’ death is hard to fathom. His empty tomb doesn’t make sense to my human mind. The fact that He conquered death is too wonderful for me to grasp. If I take the time to think through the Truths of Easter with the wonder and inquisitiveness that my son surely will, my heart wants to burst with gratitude, questions, and wonder.
Whether or not you’ve got kids under your roof this Easter, I hope you’ll find ways to remind others that Jesus is Risen. If you’re like me, as you think through how to teach the miracles of Easter to others, God will work in your heart to remind you that His resurrection is the best story ever told.
How will you teach the Resurrection to others this year? What steps will you take to remind your own heart that He is risen?