Easter Reflections

As we were driving to the store this afternoon, my six-year-old son blurted out, "Mom, I have a question. What's all this Easter stuff about anyway?" Wow! Where to begin?

Yes, he knows all about the story of Christ's resurrection. But I don't think it ever occurred to us to tell him that's what Easter is specifically about, as it's not an uncommon topic in our home. It's something my children have been taught from early on. Not the gory details, but that God loves you and sent Jesus for all of us. Then we add to it as appropriate for the child's age and comprehension.

 

But it can be really hard for some families to decide how far to go with the Easter bunny, Easter Sunday clothes, Easter baskets and all that. And I'm definitely not against any of that. I grew up with it. Coloring Easter eggs is tons of fun! So is eating all that chocolate!

We've never done Easter up in a big, traditional way. Not because we're opposed to it, but rather because we simply run out of time. We tend to focus more on getting ready for church and the family dinner following it. So, we run out of time to color eggs and make up those baskets. Maybe this year I'll get my baby ducks in a row early and find the time to do it!

But usually for us, our focus on Easter becomes more about the reason for the holiday. Christmas with Santa Claus and Baby Jesus is fine. That seems to be easier to deal with and to separate both parts. But with Easter: That's the holiest of all Christian holidays. Christmas is important because it celebrates the birth of Christ, but that's only the beginning.

Easter, as I explained to my son, is the celebration of His resurrection from the dead. He died for our sins, so we can go to heaven. He didn't stay dead. He rose from the dead on the day we call Easter Sunday. Without Easter, the resurrection, there is no Christianity. Because if Christ remained dead, there would be nothing to celebrate.

So, how can this holiday be celebrated within your family? Here are several thoughts. There is nothing wrong with having fun with it. Enjoy the pastel candies and cute spring decorations. Make that Easter basket for your children. But I'd save the basket for the children to find as an after-church activity. You could say the Easter Bunny left the baskets for them while they were gone. That will help you keep the focus on the true meaning of the holiday first.

A Christian ministry in Little Rock, Arkansas, Family Life Today, introduced an idea years ago called Resurrection Eggs. These are pastel plastic eggs that hold an item that helps tell the Easter story. They contain things like a thorn, a nail, a sponge, a coin, etc. -- all items that have a role in the story of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. Christian parents like to hide these eggs for their children to find so that it reinforces the story and the meaning of the holiday.

You can also find some really good books that explain the resurrection story for all ages, but particularly for small children. These can be great conversation starters. Focus on the Family's Heritage Builders series has some great ideas for telling the story to youngsters, too.

Maybe you could help your older children research a little about the origins of Easter. Find out how the bunny, basket and eggs became a part of the holiday. Seek out what others say regarding the celebration of the day. Many families are also starting to discover the meaning of the Jewish Passover, which occurs during this time, and quite a few are surprised to see how Christ is viewed in the traditional Jewish Sedar feast.

Also, take some time to spend with your family and friends. Enjoy the traditional ham dinner and deviled eggs. Relax, talk and play together.

Now, I know that it is important for children to know that not everyone believes all this, and I don't encourage anyone to cast judgment on those who hold a different view or thought. I tell my kids that not everyone believes what we believe, but that it's important to treat them with love as Jesus wants us to. I tell them that if others ask them questions, then they are to answer them respectfully, kindly and honestly. Never be mean or unkind to someone, because Jesus loves them, too.

I hope your Easter is special this year and that you will find some personal time to reflect on the real reason for this holiday and the promises it brings.