Easter is the most important holiday of the Christian calendar, and the week leading up to it is full of the historic adventures of Jesus. But isn’t Christmas of equal or greater importance, some well-intending people might ask? Isn’t a birth just as important as a death?
Why Jesus’ Death is so important
Not in the case of Christ. Since the great prophets of all religions have a birthdate and committed good deeds, Jesus’ birth and his teachings would only earn him the status of a great prophet.
However, he is much more than that. He is God’s only Son, the Messiah, Lord of Lords. Their followers of Mohammed and Buddha attest that their great leaders died and did not come back. Jesus came back. He ascended into heaven and plans to return to earth someday. The Ascension has witnesses; Christ’s resurrection has more than 500 witnesses. The differences between Jesus and the other great prophets concern his death and resurrection. No other prophet ever claimed to be a sacrifice for the wrong-doings of mankind. No other religion claims that their prophet arose from the dead as a sign that we, too, shall rise.
Challenges with teaching kids about Easter
For these reasons, it is important to teach kids about Christ’s death and resurrection at an early age. But there are challenges. First off, Christ’s death was quite violent. How much do we tell children? Second, we’re competing with the Easter Bunny. Will a story about a death be eclipsed by a bunny bearing candy? Finally, Jesus died, arose and ascended over 2,000 years ago. How to we teach that Easter is just as relevant today as it was for the first generation of Christians?
Why short readings during Easter Week are a great idea
They become visible if we make Easter Week a time when we have something to mention to our children every day. A ten-minute lesson daily is often how the most committed Christians relay important material to their children. If you commit to this for Easter Week, you may find you want to continue it as part of your daily lives.
Famous missionary Corrie Ten Boom listened to her father read one chapter of the gospel every morning of her life until his arrest for harboring Jews in Holland during World War II. The Dugger Family, featured in TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, manage to get all 19 of their young ones together for Bible time every night. Surely if they were inconvenienced by it or were gaining nothing, the parents would decide they had enough on their plates and stop.
The Mini-Challenges: a 10-Minute reading each day during Easter Week
Beginning Monday, the day after Palm Sunday, find a time each day until Easter when your family is relaxed and close to being all together. For some it is breakfast. For others it is after dinner, when the food is settling or when kids are enjoying dessert. For even more, it is the bedtime hour, when homework is finished and bodies are starting to wind down.
At that point, complete that day’s mini-challenge, which includes reading a scripture, reading a short application relating it to today’s world, and finally, having children answer a couple questions about how that part of Easter Week applies particularly to them. Read lively – as if this scripture is the most important story in the universe. Because it is! Close in a short prayer.
You will find that, not only has your family created a cherished memory of regular time spent together, but that Easter is a little more clear and a little more real in your children’s hearts!
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We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Holiday Challenge in the comments below 🙂