The most significant holiday on the Christian calendar is once again upon us. This special day, however, is so clouded by cultural tradition, that many church attendees have forgotten what they are to celebrate. One woman went so far as to say to me, “I can’t possibly imagine getting up at the crack of dawn and coming to a sunrise service at a stadium, park or beach for an Easter service. I would not be able to get dressed up!”
Generations of wearing the right clothes have worn down the meaning of Easter in the hearts of many. It is time for parents to re-think the way they handle this most holy celebration.
Let’s start with the bunny. What does the bunny do to point anyone to the empty tomb? Some parents say, “Oh, I don’t want to deny my children the fun of the Easter Bunny.” “What harm can the Easter Bunny do anyway?” First, let’s admit to ourselves that any child living in this great country is not being denied, when compared to the rest of the world. Secondly, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are the focal points of all we believe about our only hope. It is not about a myth; it is about a wonderful miracle wrought by God. The bunny is a distraction!
But we can use the eggs! Eggs can help parents give a visual aid in explaining the Gospel to little children. To start, begin by boiling the eggs. While the eggs are boiling, prepare the colors for coloring the eggs ready in individual cups. Talk to the children about what an egg represents. Then, gently guide them toward the thought of “new life” in Christ. Help your children imagine the chick breaking out of the shell, just as a person confined to a life of sin, or even religion, finally breaks free and receives new life in Jesus Christ. Talk to them about the fact that the chick gets out of the shell by itself, but we cannot possibly get out of the penalty of sin through our own effort. Only Jesus can crack open the unbreakable shell of death, and free us from the restraints of sin (Romans 6:23). This is a great discussion while waiting on the eggs to boil!
While coloring the eggs, talk to the children about what each color represents. But don’t do all the work for them. Let them come up with their own thoughts. The goal is to make them “think” and “find” the Gospel in God’s creation (Psalm 19), rather than give them words to repeat.
It will help children to understand if you tell them the words you are looking to link with various colors. For example, “Let’s pick out colors for each part of the Easter story. We need a dark color for sin and a color for the blood of Christ.” Talk about what happens after a person receives Jesus Christ as their Savior… as the payment for their sins. Continue with, “We need to choose a color that shows the new life a person receives after he/she accepts Christ (yellow). Then choose a color for purity (white) to help them see what Christ has done.” Open up the door and let them become creative! Allow the children to assign colors for anything they can think of that represents Jesus.
On Easter morning, line up the colored eggs in the order that tells the Gospel story — the sin of man, the blood of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and the new life one receives in Christ because of what God has done for us through Christ.
What are your traditions?
Easter is all about Christ, not new clothes and a bunny. For children, Easter must be a time for parents to come into the world of a child and use whatever tools are available to tell the greatest story ever told. But everything must be focused on Christ.
Look at your family’s Easter traditions. Do your traditions point to the real Easter Story, or are they just nice events that distract the eyes of the child from the greatest event in history? It is time for parents to become focused on the true meaning of Easter. It is time for us to do our homework, become creative and get rid of whatever distracts from Jesus Christ. By doing this in our own homes, each of us will prepare our children to do the same in their homes.
Remember, the old thought-provoking joke, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” In this case we have the answer. The Creator of the chicken and the egg came first, then He humbled Himself and became a man, and willingly died a criminal’s death on the cross (Phil 2:5-9). That is what we must choose to teach this Easter. Our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST cracked open the way to eternal life for us. Unfortunately, there are so many still living confined in that old shell called “religion”.
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.
For more articles by Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts, visit goodnewsfl.org/author/dr-bob-barnes-and-torrey-roberts/