Keeping the Easter Story Easy
Easter is an exciting holiday for young children, with activities that include dyeing eggs, filling baskets, munching on chocolate bunnies, and new outfits. These activities are fun, high-energy, and childlike by nature. But for the believer, Easter is about more than bunnies and baskets. It’s the celebration of the resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ—the pinnacle of the faith.
Naturally, many families preface Easter Sunday with the reading of the biblical Easter story, which frankly isn’t a lot of fun. It’s a rather ugly story of the crucifixion of Jesus, with a painful crown of thorns and physical torture. In short, the story of the cross only gets fun and exciting once we get to the resurrection and celebrate wholeness and salvation. The events leading up to that moment are hard to fathom.
So what’s a parent to do with the “not so pretty” part of the Easter story? How much is too much when it comes to explaining the death of Jesus, and how graphic should we get when talking about the crucifixion period? Consider the following tips to help your family embrace the pretty and not so pretty details of the Easter story of Christ’s death and resurrection:
- Share truthfully about the crucifixion, but avoid highly graphic details with young children
- With older children, read the story directly from the Bible.
- With younger pre-school or early elementary age children, consider a children’s story Bible that has streamlined the details so that they are appropriate to that age group.
- One way to approach the Easter story with kids is to emphasize that just like a child has a relationship with a parent, the Easter story shows us a relationship between Jesus and His parent. Thinking of God as a parent, and the idea that Jesus called out to his parent will help your children understand the personal nature of this relationship.
- Emphasize the love story. Jesus willingly suffered because He wanted to better understand what it means for us to suffer. This makes His pain purposeful and passionate.
- Focus on the theme of giving. We give our friends Easter candy. We give family members Easter cards. Jesus gave up His own life briefly to give us something amazing—a way to be whole and healed from our sin.
Final tip: keep your family’s focus on the Easter story grounded with the theme of “choice.” Jesus had a choice, and He chose us. He chose the painful and not so pretty path to achieve a beautiful outcome for us (the gift of eternal life). That means He values us beyond anything our hearts or minds can fathom. And that’s what’s exciting about the Easter story—so share that news with your children.
By: Dr. Lori Brown
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