Friday, March 25, 2016

Celebrating Easter with Little Kids

How do you tell a three year old that Jesus died the Friday before Easter? How do you tell him that this word we don't say (kill) is what people did to our Jesus? If Jesus is a bigger hero than Batman, and hears our prayers, and protects us from the dark, then how and why did He die? How do you explain that He came to earth as a living sacrifice, that we mourn on Good Friday, and rejoice that He is risen on Resurrection Sunday?

The Jesus Storybook Bible - photo taken from our own copy
I'm really not sure there is a good way to do this. I'm honestly struggling with it all. That part of Jesus Storybook Bible where they say 'kill' and 'die' so many times makes my stomach turn. I don't want my little boy repeating those words because he doesn't have discretion yet. He has very little understanding of the enormity of their meaning.

Parenting is hard. This is far from a 5 step how-to blog post. I'm doing the best I can with what I have. There are so many huge issues to hit home in parenting and in our Christian faith, and balancing these against our kids' maturity levels is really tricky.

We will dye eggs this year, for the first time with kids, and I will give my children a small basket of goodies as usual, but the Easter Bunny is not perceived as real in this house. We are intentional about wrapping every day with Jesus, not just holidays. I could do so much better than I am - I think all moms feel that way - but we are seeing the fruit of our deeds when R sings "Grace wins every time!" or when he looks to the sky and says "God, you is my hewo (hero)."

Our simple Easter basket - the candy is more for my husband's enjoyment than R's
Last year we gave R a no-candy Easter Basket full of toys and treats that he absolutely loved. I tried this year to find more Christ-centered gifts, which proved very hard. There are very few items, besides books, in mainstream stores geared towards the Resurrection aspect of Easter. I found some cross and lamb shaped cookie cutters at Walmart, but thought...when would I really use those? Probably after I use the train-shaped cookie cutters I got a few years ago that are still in the package. So that's a flop.

There were these fat Jesus plastic Easter eggs. NOT. The best item I found in my online search was this promising DVD set from Veggie Tales, A Very Veggie Easter Collection, which I will definitely keep in mind for next year.

I settled on these books from Walmart that the boys can share. I love the "What Is..." books as a way to validate the fun aspects of secular holiday traditions while pointing kids (and adults) back to the real reason we celebrate. "What Is Christmas" has been a favorite around here for a few years. This kids Easter story was colorful and engaging for kids, while also being true to the Bible. 

I also included Annie's chocolate and vanilla bunny-shaped cookies, a box of chalk (which we go through like crazy!), a small pack of peeps, and 1 chocolate bunny. The candy will probably be enjoyed by my husband more than anyone else. (I may have also bought some Starburst jelly beans for him...and me.) 

So, tell me, how do you celebrate Easter with intention? How to you point your kids continually to the cross when they can barely understand?

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