Once a year the Christian church takes time to specifically remember the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The expressions of this celebration (for I do see it as a celebration) has been over-taken by commercialism and the secular world. But it doesn’t have to be so in your family home.
As always Jesus wants our hearts – He wants our hearts changed – He wants our love – He wants our worship. These are the aspects that we can consider when we start focusing on hearts and minds leading up to Resurrection Sunday.
Download the Jelly Bean Story
as one way to teach your kids that it is about Jesus not chocolate!
One of the principles that we try to parent by is to elevate the good. This means that we spend more time instructing on the positive side of things than we do in warning against the negative. At Easter, this means we spend more time focusing on Jesus than we do on the Easter Bunny and chocolate. It is important to keep Jesus the main point as we consider Easter. This may sound rather obvious and yet if we take a close look at our activities and our conversations we have to ask ourselves if that is really so.
The primary purpose of any celebration is to remember the deeds of the past and to teach our children. When my kids were young we would use the weeks leading to Easter to teach them about what Jesus has done and how that affects them. Even if our have already made a commitment to follow Jesus, our children (just as we do) need regular times where they respond to God; to get their hearts right, to express their love. The celebration of Easter creates such an opportunity for our family.
There are two ways that we can encourage our children in the Lord:
- Intentional times of Instruction
- Devotional Living
Intentional times of Instruction
This is when we set time aside to teach our children from the Bible. This could look different in different homes but we had Family Devotions and a Bible study time.
Family Devotions were a time where we read scripture, discussed it and prayed. I did very little preparation for our Devotions times though we usually used a family friendly resource. Family Devotions was about hearing the word of God, and responding. It was a time when the children heard my first responses to God (as a model), they could then feel safe in sharing their own hearts and they learnt to pray aloud in a group. (On an aside note, Family Devotions were also a training ground, preparing the kids to have their own Personal Devotions as well).
Bible Study time was different. When we sat down for Bible Study I had a specific truth or concept that I wanted my children to learn from. My objective was short and to the point. I had resources and activities that supported the key idea that I wanted my kids to understand. In a sense Bible study time was more about knowledge than heart response, though whenever the Bible is read, there is opportunity to hear God speak to your heart.
With Easter in mind there are many truths to consider when planning specific lessons for your kids.
- Jesus coming was God’s plan from the beginning
- The resurrection is only the beginning
- What does the cross mean to me today?
- God’s way is not my way – will I respond to God’s way
- The Last Supper and Communion
- The people Jesus met in his last week
The second way we encourage our kids in the Lord is Devotional Living. Devotional Living is a phrase coined in Creative Family Times (Hadidian and Wilson) and I quote, “Devotional Living is when we use our everyday experiences to teach a spiritual truth.” Though there are many off the cuff type opportunities you will face, there is no reason why you can’t predetermine the lessons that you know will pop up in your day. Pray for wisdom and insight as you ask yourself: What is going on in my day that if I talked about it, my child would learn something about Jesus.
- God’s love for them
- Jesus’ death and resurrection
- God’s forgiveness and new life
We also created specific activities that gave opportunity to teach to our children’s hearts:
- Resurrection Rolls or Resurrection Cookies
- Jelly Bean Poem (for many years, our kids put together the Jelly Bean Poem and a bag of coloured jelly beans to give to all the kids at our Easter service).
- Easter Garden display
The key in devotional living discussions or activities is that you do them with your children. They are not activities to be done by themselves – join in and take the opportunity to talk while your hands are busy.
Regardless of what is happening in the world around us, and how they celebrate Easter, we need to create our own family culture and for me and my house we will celebrate God’s love for us at Easter time.
But what about Chocolate!
Another note on the side: Chocolate is a big part of celebrating Easter in our culture – and who doesn’t love chocolate! When our kids were young, and learning to value God’s perspectives we didn’t have chocolate till the public holiday – Easter Monday. When my kids asked for Chocolate, or asked why we didn’t have chocolate – I would simply reply that Easter is about Jesus not Chocolate and we would have some fun family time tomorrow (Monday) with chocolate. This was just our family way, there is no right or wrong of it – it is just chocolate. But if you want to find ways to distract your kids from chocolate (and the bunny) and redirect them towards Jesus then you can do it.
Download the Jelly Bean Story
Instructions included to make a gift that tells the story of Easter.
Over to you:
How do you stay focused on Jesus at Easter time?
Easter Lessons for your Highschool Student (or older teen) Find age appropriate lessons to teach your highschool kids Biblical truth at Easter.
Easter Lessons for Older Kids (for Family Devotions or Homeschooling Study) Even though our teens may know the basics about Easter we need to keep taking the opportunity to strengthen their faith.
It’s Important to be Responsible for your own Relationship with Jesus Our children have to dig their own wells: It is important to be responsible for your own relationship with Jesus.