I love seeing my kids get excited about hunting eggs, but I also want to teach them our beliefs about Easter.
One of the challenges facing parents is the competition of the religious and secular sides of holidays. Which do you focus on? How do you do both? It is possible? Should you even bother? At Christmas we talked a little bit about whether or not you should encourage your kids to believe in Santa Claus here. So now let’s talk about Easter.
Is Easter just bunnies, eggs, candy, hunts, and fancy dresses? What is the real significance of Easter, and how can parents help kids learn the meaning and reason for celebration? How do you remind children, and yourself, it is not about a bunny who bring candy, but a Savior who bring Atonement? A treat bringing bunny is stiff competition for a child’s attention.
Instead of ignoring the bunnies, eggs and baskets, let’s look at ways they can be used as tools for teaching of the significance of Easter.
Easter eggs are hollow, empty containers that are filled with gifts. They can be very symbolic of the empty tomb that represents a wonderful gift for man.
My husband and I had an opportunity to travel to Jerusalem, and visit the garden tomb. It is a beautiful garden that sits near the hill Golgotha, and that contains what is believed to be the tomb where Christ’s body was laid to rest over two-thousand years ago. Why did we visit this place? Not in hopes of seeing the buried body of Christ, but because it is not there. Because He lives again. On the door is the sign pictured above reading: “He is not here, for He is risen.”
What a wonderful message this can be for children, and why not use the eggs to talk about and teach about this gift?
What about a hunt? How can you use an egg hunt to teach about the meaning and significance of Easter?
The story of Easter is found throughout Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John. A great way to make the learning of this story exciting for kids is to do an egg hunt for the scripture story. Fill eggs with scripture references, and work your way through the story, have treats, and take time to talk about each scripture. Here are a few I recommend:
Egg 1: Luke 22: 44
Discuss Christ’s entering Gethsemane, and his prayer. Talk about how he was the only one who could free us from the consequences of sin. Discuss the agony he went through, the suffering he endured for our sins, and why he did so.
Egg 2: Luke 22:48
Discuss the betrayal of Judas.
Egg 3: Mark 15:17
Discuss his “trial” and the tortures he endured, whipping, scourge, insults. Then his crucifixion on Golgotha. Talk about his forgiveness of the men beside him, and in the end his death. An ending and a beginning.
Egg 4: Matthew 28:6
Duscuss the empty tomb, and Mary, coming to clean, anoint, and wrap his body. Talk about the Angels who told her he was risen, and what that means for mankind.
The bunny can be very symbolic. I found this cute way to relate the characteristics of the bunny to that of Christ from Focus on the Family:
- are white as snow because Jesus takes all sin away (Isaiah 1:18b).
- are gentle, kind-hearted and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32).
- have big ears that are quick to listen (James 1:19).
- have big eyes to look carefully and choose what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
- have no voice for complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:13).
- are quiet in prayer, but hop with thanksgiving and rejoicing (Philippians 4:4-6).
- have big feet to go tell others about Jesus so they can be like Easter bunnies, too (Matthew 28: 19-20).
- eat what is healthy by filling up on God’s word every day (Psalm 119:11).
Of course, you do not have to make everything symbolic, you could consider doing the bunny on Saturday, and focus on true significance on Sunday. Separating the two in order to have both, but not forget the significance and meaning of the sacrifice of Christ. There are tons of fun ways to remember Christ in Easter, and I hope you use some of them.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope you can enjoy Easter, while remembering the sacrifice and blessings we get through Christ’s Atonement.