The Easter holiday season can be as exciting or as solemn as we want it to be. The excitement for some comes because it is also the season of spring – the snow is gone by then, [at least that’s what we hope] flowers are beginning to bud and bloom, and the biggest excitement for kids is the shaped confections such as the bunny and the chocolate shaped eggs with caramel filling. 🙂
It was and still is a solemn, somber moment as we focus on the Passion of Christ – His gruesome suffering and death as He was nailed hands and feet to the cross, His burial and then His resurrection. So, which of the two scenarios would we rather teach our children?
I recall most of my own childhood days. We knew nothing about the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs and any such thing; at least if our parents knew about them, it was never their focus much less to teach us or to pass that tradition on to us.
The entire week was observed just as it says, a Holy Week. There was a church service held every night of that week that we had to attend with our parents. We sang songs and scriptures were read to commemorate our Lord’s journey starting from when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and His final days on earth.
We looked forward to the Sunday morning marking Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. We the children along with our parents and other Christian believers marched through the village to the sound of the drums from as early as 5 am singing joyfully this chorus, “Up from the grave He arose! With a mighty triumph o’er His foes. He arose the victor from the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign! He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!
Today I ask myself where did all of that go to? It should be the desire of every parent to want children to know that joy as well – to know that there is so much more to Easter than marshmallows, egg roll, chocolate bunny, just to mention a few.
A few changes in our approach is all it needs. As parents our focus has to be different from being so caught up and busy with workflow that we neglect giving our children the opportunities for learning about Jesus and more about Easter and what it really mean to us. Here are a few important things to teach our children this Easter:
1. Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our wrongdoing
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~ Romans 6:23
Children must be taught the difference between right and wrong from a tender age. Simple acts of kindness can be used to demonstrate to them that when they do the right things [starting with the ten commandments as the basic foundation] that Father God is pleased. In pleasing Him, He adds His blessings and favor upon them.
On the other hand, when the wrong thing is done such as stealing, telling lies, bullying or hurting their friends etc that is considered breaking God’s laws which brings punishment and death by disconnection from God. They need to understand that is the reason for Jesus being punished so harshly by Father God and in the end dying on Calvary’s Cross. The story of our redemption and reconciliation back to God is definitely worth sharing with our children.
2. The importance and power of forgiveness
Our children must be taught about the importance of forgiveness and for saying sorry to others for anything they may have done wrong to another person. If this value is instilled in our children at a young age, I personally believe there would be little or no room for anger, hatred, bitterness and un-forgiveness which essentially are the root causes of so much violence, murder and relationship issues in our society today.
Children should be taught basic ways to handle conflicts and settle disputes before it turns into violence. Jesus is our perfect role model when it comes to forgiveness. He says we must forgive others their trespasses so that our Heavenly Father may forgive us of our sins. He says no matter how much time someone hurts us, we must forgive seventy times seven.
He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set Him free but even while He hung there on the Cross the Bible says He cried out to God and uttered, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what thy do.” And they cast lots, dividing his garments. ~ Luke 23:34 KJV
3. The resurrection and the significance of it
Many great men and women have died but as far as history recalls, no other was raised from the dead/grave other than our Lord Jesus Christ! That we must impress upon our children and grandchildren. Christ’s resurrection is pivotal to our salvation! It is also the basic foundation of our faith. If He was not raised from the dead then our faith would be useless.
“The Apostle Paul sums it up best when he wrote this: “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [mere delusion]; you are still in your sins [and under control and penalty of sin]. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:16-19 (AMP)
4. Key biblical principles and undeniable truths about the Cross
The fundamental themes/truths about the Cross we as parents must teach our children. Make the learning practical and fun and in very simple language help them to understand what is meant by justification, atonement, imputation and redemption.
Jesus was God’s perfect Son. He was obedient to His Father even unto death, death on the Cross. Teach them that Jesus’ righteousness [as if we were perfect and had never sinned] has been credited to us by faith when we come into union with Him and Father God through the Spirit of adoption. Lead them into discussion about what it means to buy back or redeem something that initially was theirs but was lost.
In that way you are helping them to understand that through our sins, we were cut off from the Father and lost to eternal damnation, but Christ’s blood that He shed purchased us back and we are now reconciled and at peace with our Heavenly Father.