Easter is right around the corner! And with it brings decorated eggs, fluffy bunnies, and even little chicks. However, while Easter might currently be celebrated as an official start to spring with it’s adorable animals, hidden eggs, and plastic-grass-filled baskets, this is not why Christians celebrate it.
Here’s the short of the long:
Several thousand years ago, the Jewish people lived as slaves in Egypt. In a hugely dramatic showdown with the gods of Egypt, God sent a bunch of plagues. During the last plague, the angel of death was going to pass through all of the homes in Egypt and take the firstborn son as a sacrifice. In order to save their sons, the Jewish families would each sacrifice a lamb and paint its blood on the front door of their homes. The painted blood was a sign to the angel of death to literally pass over those homes. Thus, the firstborns were saved! And in his grief, the Egyptian King kicked all of the Jews out of Egypt – they were now free.
For thousands of years, the Jewish people have celebrated the Passover as a reminder of their dramatic release from slavery. To no surprise, the primary part of this feast is the lamb.
This is the same feast that Jesus (a first-century Jew), celebrated each year. One of the last things he did on earth was to take all of the symbolism in the Passover meal (including the blood of the lamb) and apply it to himself. Basically saying, “my death will save your lives”, just like the Passover lamb’s death and blood saved the lives of thousands years earlier.
Later that night, Jesus was put on trial in front of a rigged jury and sentenced to death by crucifixion (a sinner’s death, though he never sinned). Therefore the Passover Lamb was killed during the festival of Passover.
Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us.1 Corinthians 5:7, NLT
But this Passover Lamb didn’t just die to save the eldest sons from death. Jesus died to save all who believe from the ultimate punishment of sin, which is eternal death. And the final glorious touch was his resurrection on Resurrection Sunday (aka Easter).
That’s A LOT to share with a child though, isn’t it? Just imagine the blank stares you’d get if you tried to explain that to a kid. In fact, I think it’s safe to assume that most adults don’t know the connection between Passover and Easter. So how do we teach kids about the real meaning of Easter?
As a first time mom, I found myself struggling with this. How can I start to implement ways to teach Owen about the real meaning of this holiday? So here’s what I’ve come up with based off my research and experience…
The best way to teach your child about Easter is by using Bible story books.These books can help your kids understand the significance of the holiday without overwhelming them (or you!). From there, you can move to object lessons and crafts, but a good children’s Bible will your kids understand the basics of Easter without all the scary details found in the Bible.
Thank goodness for talented and called writers, am I right? If you’re looking for a book that will help your kids bridge the gap between what they see in the world and what the real meaning of Easter is, I have just the thing!
“Good News! It’s Easter!” is a hefty little board book with a beautiful message. It begins by reminded us the renewal that occurs in spring. On each page, we meet a living creature that has grown or changed in some way, while we follow a path through a meadow. These pages show the Easter animals your child might recognize: a bunny, a chick, and a butterfly. But at the end of the path, we see Jesus standing in front of the empty tomb: the Ultimate Renewal. Which goes to say, that this is the real meaning of Easter.
“Easter Love Letters from God“is another great Easter book written for children ages 5-10. It’s a premium picture book that tells the Easter story in seven chapters with seven lift-the-flap love letters from God. This book can be used as a seven-day devotional tool for families during Holy Week or by children’s ministers for Easter events.
A golden Easter egg hunt was something that my family did growing up. It’s a great way to incorporate the traditional Easter egg hunt with a lesson on the meaning Easter. The idea is to hide your usual plastic eggs filled with your typical candy selections (honestly, I think my grandparents even put “money” in the eggs – money being loose change). Then you hide one golden egg that would be empty. If your kids have never played this version before, they might be a little bummed; however this is a great opportunity for you to step in and explain that the egg is empty because the tomb is empty!
Obviously, this example is better for toddlers or older kids; however it’s never too early to start a new tradition!
Easter is mostly celebrated as a generic spring festival in the secular world. But for Christians, it’s a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that occured over 2,000 years ago. So there you have it: there are a couple of ways you can teach your kids about Easter to help them to start to understand the significance of the holiday without overwhelming them or you!
What’s YOUR favorite way to help teach kids the real meaning of Easter?