Easter is just a few days away and already I recognize the temptation to get it wrong. There are so many traditions built into this holiest of days, most of which cause us to miss that which is most important.
Of course I'm talking about the good news of the cross. Beyond the well known Bible story and our celebration of Christ's resurrection, we must pray for the ability to realize all that it means for us today. It means that we have eternity, life, and a hope that God is restoring all things back to how He meant for them to be. But sadly, our focus (and the focus of our kids) can easily be lost on things like eggs, chocolate, new church clothes and spiral hams.
Perhaps ditching the Easter Bunny would help. Or would that be overkill?
The burning question lingers: "How do we help our kids to experience the joy of Easter while helping them to capture the somber truth that the cross and the empty tomb matter more than anything else?" In other words, how do we keep the bunny from being a distraction?
I have a few suggestions, but I would also like to hear some of your ideas. Please feel free to comment at the bottom of this post with what works for your family.
First of all, I invite you to read a great article by Barbara Rainey. In What's Wrong with Easter? Rainey gets us thinking about the impact of this holiest of days. Note that she refuses to call it a "holiday." Good advice.
Secondly, depending on the ages of your kids, I encourage you to utilize one of many creative teaching ideas that are out there. From the Resurrection Eggs you can find at the Christian bookstore to a fun recipe for making Resurrection Cookies, there are many hands-on approaches to talking with your kids about holy week. Likewise, you can search online for a good family devotion that focuses on Easter.
But most importantly, we need to stretch all of our hearts and minds by considering fully what Jesus' act of love means to us. Yes, it means eternal life for all who believe (very good news!), but Jesus' death and resurrection reminds us that God is into restoration. He is still in the business of taking broken things and making them whole again. His passion is to take messed up people and restore them to completeness. He can take everything that is wrong in our world and set it right.
Perhaps we need to be having ongoing discussions in our homes about the implications of Easter to us today. Specifically, it means asking God to reveal to us the broken parts of our lives that need His redemption. That's what Easter is all about. And that's very good news, indeed.