Easter in the 60’s. White ankle socks, patent leather shoes and white gloves. Oh…and don’t forget a white purse that contained a Kleenex and an envelope with .50 for Sunday School.
I love Easter. I mean, I really LOVE Easter! Easter meant new life. Flowers begin blooming, the weather gets warmer and it meant that school was almost over and summer would be right around the corner! But I love the Easter story too.
HE AROSE! Yay! *insert hymns for Easter service here* 🙂
I remember my Sunday School teachers over the years explaining the true Easter story, and I remember them using gentle words regarding Jesus hanging on the cross. How do you explain to a 5 year old that God was/is so holy that He cannot look upon sin and that Jesus took upon ALL sins….the little white lies, the cursing, swearing, and the uglier sins of murder and incest….so much darkness that our precious heavenly God had to turn His back on His only Son. Our God, who created the heavens and the universe could not bear to look at His Son as he hung on the cross.
Our sins deserve punishment. Jesus didn’t commit those sins, we did/do.
James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
So at age 5, I remember our Sunday School teacher glossing over the death of our Savior as He hung on the cross. RC Sproul says, “He hung in darkness, isolated from the Father, cut off from fellowship”. I cannot imagine a life without God. I cannot imagine a life where there is no love, no hope or no relationship with Him. I would not have been able to understand the full meaning of this at age 5…..but I surely get it now. My sweet, precious Lord took on all the sins of the world and hung there on the cross. Rejected…forsaken…so overwhelmed by the darkness heaped upon Him. And why did He do this? For me. He did this for you.
So, how can you tell the Easter story to your little one? Let them know that it was LOVE that prompted Jesus to die on the cross so we could spend eternity with Him. That is the core of the message and it should be told in a way that does not create fear. You don’t have to go into the horrific torture of the cross, but relay the story in a way that your child might understand. You could read the story from their preschool Bible or watch the VeggieTales story of Easter. Just remind them why we celebrate Easter and that He rose from the grave for us!
Let them know that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. Help them to understand that we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and that we deserve to be punished for our sins (Rom. 6:23). Let them know that even though we sin, God still loves us and wants to forgive us (Rom 5:8). And finally let them know that they can become a Christian by confessing that Jesus is their Lord and Savior (Rom. 10:9) and that He died on the cross and rose from the grave! Pray with them and then help them commit their life to living for Jesus.
JESUS LOVES YOU! THIS IS THE REAL EASTER STORY….