Monday, April 2, 2012

Celebrate Easter: Teach Kids the Real Meaning of Easter

My little guy is only 22 months old, but I am always amazed at how much he notices and understands and remembers. It is not too early to teach him Scripture and Bible stories. Though he's too young yet to grasp the concept of God incarnate coming to earth in the person of Jesus, who sacrificed Himself to atone for the sin of mankind then rose again to bring "life on life for you and me" on Easter morning, I don't think it can possibly be too early to start talking about it. I don't want him to know a day before he heard the gospel and loved the Lord, so we will talk and pray and read, hoping that the Holy Spirit will make his heart soft and that he will understand and know for himself the peace that surpasses all understanding and the joy that can only come from knowing the truth.
As P gets bigger, I have been interested in finding creative ways to teach him about God, particularly around the holidays when the focus is so often diverted too much to the trivial or the self-indulgent. To me, there's nothing wrong with fun traditions and things like the Easter bunny and Santa, but I hope that in our family those things never outshine the hope that we have in Christ!
So, here's a roundup of a few neat ways to teach your little ones the meaning of Easter or maybe just be a sweet reminder to you as you're decorating and cooking and dying eggs that there is nothing more important for a Christian than the fact that Christ died but rose again.

1) Almond Cookies: Each step of this recipe tells part of the Easter story. Older children can help make these cookies and you have a neat opportunity to talk through the gospel while your hands are busy with the steps that represent each part.

2) Resurrection Eggs: I used to get these in Sunday school years ago, the 12 eggs are filled with small items that represent everything that happened during Holy Week and an accompanying scripture reference. A thorn, a sponge, a small cross, a stone, and the last egg is empty. The 'The strife is o'er, the battle done! The vicory of life is won!" This talented blogger also had the idea of using these eggs on your Easter table, each person opening an egg and sharing what's inside. She has free printables for the cute presentation.

3) Resurrection Rolls: Here's another recipe, but it's definitely semi-homemade. All you need are marshmallows, cinnamon, sugar and crescent rolls. You wrap dough around a marshmallow and when they bake, the marshmallow melts and you are left with the miracle of an "empty tomb," children will be excited and it's a good conversation starter.

4) Easter Garden: I couldn't find the original source of this (it's all over Pinterest), but I like the idea of growing wheat grass this time of year and incorporating it into a centerpiece or mini garden for your kitchen window. It looks a little 'bonsai' to me :).
5) 12 Day Countdown to Easter with stories and activities: This blogger created a 12 day countdown to Easter with suggestions of gospel stories for each day along with some activities. It's a good resource!

6) Easter Garden and Linky Party: Here's another Easter Garden but this blogger's daughter helped make it, I love the empty potato tomb! For this post she was also hosting a 'linky party' of ideas for sharing the real meaning of Easter with your children-there are close to a hundred ideas all in one place! I didn't screen them all so you may have to pick through.

Let me just leave you with a bit of text from my favorite Easter hymn:

"Look there! The Christ, our Brother, comes resplendant from the gallows tree,
And what He brings in His hurt hands is life on life for you and me!

Joy, Joy! Joy to the heart all in this good day's dawning!

Good Jesus Christ, inside His pain, looked down Golgotha's stony slope,
And let the blood flow from His flesh to fill the springs of living hope!"

 Joy, Joy! Joy to the heart all in this good day's dawning!"

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