Easter is right around the corner, and while we are not in a church or denomination that celebrates Lent, I have been preparing my oldest son for the holiday. In a society that now equates Easter with bunnies and baskets rather than crosses and tombs, it is vitally important that I surround my kids with the true meaning of Easter at home. They must hear the Resurrection story and what it means in their lives, and they must hear it from me. This is not something that can be left up to chance or their Sunday School teachers — I have a sacred duty to teach them a Christ-centered Easter.
And this is how I’m doing it:
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HOW I’M TEACHING MY PRESCHOOLER ABOUT A CHRIST-CENTERED EASTER
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Why is it so important that I be intentional about teaching my son a Christ-centered Easter? Because, just like at Christmas, he is going to be bombarded with the world’s version of the holiday. The stores are filled right now with bunnies, candy, and treats for Easter baskets. If my voice is not equally as loud with the Resurrection message, it will quickly get drowned out by the meaningless frivolity.
Not that baskets and egg dyes and searches for little plastic eggs aren’t fun. They definitely are! And I’m not opposed to any of that.
But Easter is about more than bunnies and Easter egg hunts. So, so, SO much more. And I want my kids to know that. I don’t want the Resurrection story to be the sideshow of the day. I want it to be the main attraction. All the rest is just fluff.
Easter is arguably THE most important day in a Christian’s life. It’s the celebration of our Savior’s incredible sacrifice and resurrection. It is a huge deal. And I want my sons to learn and understand that as early in their life as possible.
I’M NOT LEAVING IT UP TO SUNDAY SCHOOL
In making sure that he knows about Jesus’ death and resurrection, it would be easy to let Aidan’s Sunday School teachers cover it. He has awesome teachers, and they are more experienced teaching the story. Some of them have been doing it for many years. What do I have that they don’t?
They aren’t his parents.
And something that important should be taught and reinforced at home. He should hear us talk about it (and not just on Easter, by the way, but woven throughout the fabric of our lives). He should know that we believe it and that we think it’s important. If we want to raise him in a Christian home, then he should hear us talk, at the very least, about the basic tenets of our faith.
Don’t get me wrong — I am so thankful for our church and Aidan’s classes. He has wonderful teachers, and he learns so much there. But the responsibility of something as important and eternally significant as his spiritual development should not be placed on someone else’s shoulders. The majority of the training and learning should come from home. It should come from us.
KEEPING IT AGE-APPROPRIATE
Now that I’ve explained why I want to teach Aidan about Easter, I’ll tell you how I’ve been doing it.
He is three (almost four) years old, so my key method is keeping it age-appropriate. I certainly don’t want to “dumb it down” (he understands a LOT more than I give him credit for sometimes), but I also don’t want to throw a bunch of theological mumbo jumbo at him that, frankly, even some adults have a hard time understanding. I want to bring the story to his level, in words and concepts he understands. At this point, it’s much more important to me that the story be accessible than thorough.
I also don’t want to get too gruesome … but I do want to impress upon him the magnitude of the sacrifice. Without going into gory details, I want him to know that Jesus suffered. That He suffered for us. That our sins caused him incredible pain, which he endured because He loved us that much. I can’t gloss over Jesus’ suffering out of fear I’ll disturb my kids. They should be disturbed. I want them to be disturbed because that’s when they’ll understand the cost of our sin.
Finally, I want to keep it interesting. This is pretty key to my overall strategy for keeping my kids engaged and nurturing a desire to learn about God. I don’t want them to think that any of this is boring. Serious? Yes. Worth sacrifice and discipline? Yes. But boring? Never. So at this point in Aidan’s life, I try to make the Bible fun and interesting.
TOOLS & RESOURCES
For Aidan, keeping it interesting usually means reading age-appropriate books. So we’ve been reading the Easter story in his Beginner’s Bible and The Beginner’s Bible Jesus Enters Jerusalem and He Is Risen: The Beginner’s Bible Easter Flip Book. He loves them! The book even has stickers in it, which is always a big hit.
For Andrew, I have been reading The Story of Easter, by Patricia A. Pingry. He’s still in the board book stage, so this is perfect! I know he doesn’t yet understand what we’re reading, but it’s laying the foundation for future learning.
Here are some other excellent books for a Christ-centered Easter:
The Easter Story for Children (The Story) – Max Lucado
- God Gave Us Easter – Lisa Tawn Bergren
Bunnies and baskets and Easter egg hunts are certainly not evil or sinful. We started doing an easter egg hunt with Aidan last year, and it was a blast for all of us! But it is not what Easter is all about. And it is my privilege and duty to share the Good News of the Resurrection with my kids and teach them what that means for their lives.
I can’t leave it up to teachers at church — while wonderful, they aren’t their parents. And it most certainly won’t come from the outside world — they like to deny the cross and the resurrection have any relevance at all.
No, a Christ-centered Easter needs to be heard often, and it needs to be heard at home. And I’m doing it through repetition and age-appropriate materials.
What about you? How do you teach your kids about the Easter story? Tell us in the comments below!
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