Making Easter Personal for Preschoolers
It’s Easter Already?
In my walking-zombie-newborn-coma state it seems Easter has suddenly arrived. There has been no talk of Christ, the cross, or resurrection…until last week.
Driving the boys to school it hit me…Easter! I’m supposed to be talking to the boys about Easter. Okay let’s do that. “Hey boys do you see the white crosses people have in their yards? Did you know that on Easter morning they will turn them around to say, ‘He is Risen’?”
That’s all we needed to start the “Easter” conversations. This simple statement sparked an onslaught of questions from my boys. We discussed the concepts of betrayal, vengeance, sin, atonement, and prophecy…all in 15 minutes. Whew!
Beyond a “story”
Each night before bed we read a story from the Bible. So the basic stories of Easter have been discussed in our home. They know what happens. But I want them to know why it matters. I want the Bible to go beyond stories and change their lives.
For example, to make the story of Judas’ betrayal more personal I said to my oldest, “What if your best friend Andrew met you at the park & gave you a big hug. That was a signal to the police to arrest you. And they paid Andrew money. How would you feel?” My son was shocked at the idea & began a rant on how he would fight back against the police. I shared with him how Jesus was quiet when Judas betrayed him and didn’t fight. How when Peter cut off the Roman soldier’s ear, Jesus healed the man. Jesus acted differently than we would have.
Jesus chose God’s way (death on a cross) over his own way (fighting the soldiers).
Making Sin Personal
That’s how we define “sin”–>
Sin is choosing your way over God’s way. It’s doing what you want to do instead of what God wants.
This story of Jesus confirms that He was the only one on earth who was without sin. A man who always did what God wanted him to do.
One activity that I did last Easter to make Jesus sacrifice and the concept of redemption more personal involved their Easter baskets. I wanted to give them Easter baskets but I didn’t want them to be from an oversized bunny. I saw this idea online (turns out it’s from my new bloggy friend Oh Amanda). Here is her link: Easter Basket Alternative.
After discussing “sin”, we went outside & collected our rocks. Then we sat down and wrote with a Sharpie marker on each rock sins we struggle with: whining, fighting, hurting others, disobeying, yelling in anger, etc.
Then we put the rocks in their baskets. And read Ezekiel 36:26:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
His love for us…
We covered up the baskets with a red superhero cape. Why a red cape? To represent Christ’s death on the cross. A payment for our bad choices. His blood covered our sin. (If your kids are over 4 yrs old you could discuss the passover story. When Israelites were in Egypt…during the last plague they covered their doorways with blood of a lamb so death would pass over their homes.)
While they were asleep I took their rocks and moved them into a basket labeled “Jesus”. In their baskets I replaced the rocks with gifts.
When they woke up and found the baskets. I explained how Jesus took all their sin & bad choices for himself, so they could have blessings.
The gifts they were given would help them grow spiritually (Jesus Storybook Bible, Big Picture Story Bible), would help them develop the talents God had given them for His glory (coloring books/crayons, basketball), and would help them worship God (Seeds family worship CDs).
These are the books the boys are getting this year:
- For my 6 yr old: The Tale of the Three Trees (folk tale about three trees that grow up to be Jesus’ manger, boat, and cross)
- For my 4 yr old: Benjamin’s Box (story of the Resurrection Eggs)
- For my almost 3 yr old: The Parable of the Lily (story of grace & forgiveness).
What do you do for Easter to make it more meaningful and personal for your kids? Do you find it hard to explain the true meaning of Easter to your little ones?
**I discovered that the people who made “The Jesus Film” have a version for children. You can watch a copy from the website: www.wonderzone.org . Here is the link to the movie: The Story of Jesus for Children.
The first time my son watched the movie he said, “Why would Jesus do that? Why would he do that for us?” Exactly.
Like my eldest son said, “Was it sin that kept him on the cross? No, I remember. It’s love that kept him on the cross. It was sin that put him there.”
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