Easter for Families

Easter Blog for Families
“He is risen! He is risen indeed!” or “Jesus Christ is risen today. Hallelujah.” What does this really mean to the average 5-, 6-, 7-, or 8-year-old? Though on one hand really very simple conceptually – God made Jesus alive again. And on the other hand, the resurrection is a HUGE and somewhat overwhelming, even for adults.
So, how do you talk to your kids about Easter? First you start with your own comfort level with Easter, how comfortable are you with the enormous complexities? Could you explain Easter to another adult? If the answer is yes, then you’ll do ok with your kids. Next, consider your child’s age and stage as well as who they are – how sensitive they are and to what kinds of things.
At it’s most basic the Easter story is John 3:16, “This is how much God loved the world: he gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed, by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life…He came to help, to put the world right again.” The Message, pg.1561
If appropriate, read the Easter story aloud with your child: Matthew 26:14-28; Mark 14-16; or, Luke 22-24:12. These all tell the story from just before the Last Supper through the Resurrection. Just read through it, if you are calm and relaxed, they will be too. You don’t need to dwell on the gorier parts, but they are part of the story, Jesus suffered and he did so because he loves us. And then God made Jesus alive again – there is your focus.  
God loves us so much that God sent us Jesus, God’s only son, to show us how to love God, how to love each other and how to love the natural world like God does. God sent us Jesus so that we could be reconciled to God. When we believe in God – creator, sustainer and redeemer we are forgiven, we will have eternal life.
Young children are concrete thinkers and using activities that tie the idea of resurrection to something concrete will help them understand. Children in Montgomery County are all very invested in the ideas of recycling and composting – these are concrete examples of transformation – maybe try melting old broken crayons in the microwave and turning them into brand new crayons; try your hand at composting, it doesn’t have to take a lot of room, uses up your vegetable scraps and makes great new dirt for growing your vegetables later in the year; plant some seeds, or spend some time poking around creeks looking for tadpoles, and later in the year keep your eyes open for chrysalis, all wonderful examples of transformation.
However you approach it, let your focus be on God’s amazing and transformative love for each and every one of us – and that we just need to open ourselves to that love. Whatever and however you talk to your children about Easter, I encourage you to end with a simple prayer something like:

Dear God,

Thank you for loving us so much that you sent us Jesus.

Jesus thank you for showing us how to love God, each other and the natural world.

Please help us to be the people you put us here to be

Help us to love you, other people and the world like you do

And help us be Kingdom builders here on earth.