Everyone knows that Easter is the most-attended church service of the year. Even the nation’s smallest churches see an increase in visitors on that Sunday. However, come the next week, most churches’ attendance shrink back down to their regular size. Many people consider Easter Sunday to be the most important day of the year for Christians, but in reality, we should celebrate Jesus’ resurrection every Sunday. And let’s face it, some children are going to miss the spiritual message altogether on the actual Easter weekend given that they are bound to be pre-occupied with the Easter Bunny, baskets of goodies and visitations with relatives. Celebrating that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to die for our sins, and then came back to life again three days later should be celebrated throughout the year. Here are some ideas on how:
Sharing the Easter Story
Surprise your kids with a movie night during the week. Prepare your living or family room as a movie theater with the lights down low. Serve bags of popcorn, juice boxes and maybe some even some licorice, and watch a short Easter-themed movie (VeggieTales’ Easter Carol, Twas the Night Before Easter or Rack, Shack and Benny are all good choices). Having the room dark will help them focus on the story. After the movie, ask your children questions about what they saw. The kids will love the surprise of watching a movie on a “school night,” and you might even be surprised by what they were able to pull from the video on their own.
Talking About New Life
Purchase a small plant growing kit; one that comes with its own planter, seeds and dirt. As you plant the seeds, explain to them that the seeds are dead, just like Jesus was on Good Friday, but after they water the seeds, they will see them come to life, just as Jesus did on Easter. Also explain that because Jesus died for our sins, we too will rise again and live forever with Him in heaven.
The next time you pop some popcorn, you can also use it as an illustration of how Jesus died on Good Friday (the closed kernel of corn) and then sprang back to life (the popped corn) on Easter.
Being the Light of the World
On the fourth of July, point out to your children about how dark the sky is before the fireworks. Compare that to how the world was in darkness before Jesus came to save us. As the fireworks splash across the sky, it can be used as a symbol that Jesus is the light of the world. Also explain how we too should be like the fireworks spreading the Good News for all to see.
On a chilly night, have your kids cuddle under a blanket in front of the fireplace. Share how being cold can be uncomfortable and maybe even a little lonely. Share how Jesus’ disciples must have felt after Jesus died and how it might be a similar setting. If you have a gas fireplace, have this discussion with the fire off. It you have a traditional fireplace, build up the logs and paper as you discuss this. Then, light the fire, or turn on the switch, and talk about the heat that comes through. Share how the flames of light are just like when Jesus rose from the grave; a miraculous event.
On Halloween, make “happy” jack o-lanterns and perhaps cut out a cross in one too. Explain that we need to shed light to the world, just like Jesus did. During Christmas, light candles in the window for the same reason.
Explaining the Trinity
Share a lesson from St. Patrick the next time your family is exploring a clover patch. Whether it’s in your own yard or on the playground, ask your kids to see if they can find four-sided one. After some searching, take time to explain that 4-sided clovers are very rare, but that we are surrounded by the three-sided ones. Take one and explain to your children that each clover is a reminder of how the Father (God), Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit are like the three separate leaves of the clover, but how each come together to form the trinity.
While making a potato salad for a family event, take time to explain how a hard-boiled egg can also resemble the trinity as the shell, the white and the yolk are all three distinct parts of the egg, but you’ll never find one without the other two.