EASTER: Time for Strengthening Families; Teaching Next Generation About the Truth

A message from the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:

All of life makes sense in light of what we commemorate this Friday and celebrate this Sunday.  Do your children know that?  Are you taking advantage of what this week offers to not only build and honor your family’s traditions but also to build your family’s faith?  Are you purposefully using this week to help your children share their faith?
ImageAs we pause this week to reflect on the final week of Jesus Christ’s earthly life and ministry, it’s almost overwhelming.  The events range from high celebration on Palm Sunday to agony on Good Friday to overwhelming joy on Resurrection Sunday.  Forgiveness of sin and eternal life—hope for this life and the life to come—were secured through Jesus’s finished work on Calvary and His glorious victory of death and the grave. But what do your children and grandchildren think about Easter
Here are some ideas for you to consider as you prepare to make this weekend’s commemoration unusual rich for you and your family.  The ideas aren’t unique with me.  They are readily available online.  The ones I’m including here come from Lynne Thompson and Kim Wier of Engaging Women Ministries.
For the youngest in your family, have them put one chocolate heart in a hollow plastic egg and explain that this is because Jesus came to give us a new heart toward God.  Let the children hand these eggs out to friends, neighbors and even strangers.  Some recommend putting a note inside with the chocolate with a message taken from John 14:1: “Don’t let your heart be trouble.  Believe in God; believe also in Me.—Jesus”
For those ages 4 to 7, have a neighborhood egg hunt with a twist.  Hide one empty egg, representing the empty tomb.  Whoever finds that empty egg and calls out, “He is not here! He has risen, just as He said!” receives the grand prize.  Ending the hunt with gathering all the children together and telling the Easter story tops of the event.  Be sure you define terms you might use such as crucified, disciples, resurrection.
ImageOlder children can begin experiencing the joy of giving—just as Christ gave His life for our sins.  Perhaps a visit to a hospital or nursing home or rehab center is in order. With your child’s involvement, decide on a budget to buy some Easter lilies and Easter cards.  Have the child present these to some of those who are spending Easter weekend in these facilities.  Be sure the Easter card expresses the hope we have in Jesus’ resurrection.
And I love this idea for teens.  Have a family sunrise service.  Weather permitting hold it at a park or nearby lake.  Sunrise services aren’t all that common any more.  Take a Bible, hymnbooks, maybe even a guitar.  Have the teen read the resurrection accounts from the Gospels with Mary and others’ sunrise visits to the tomb only to find it empty and then to realize that Jesus was there—alive!  Sing praises together, worship together as a family before going to church.
One tradition every family can have is inviting others to share Easter in their home.  Invite friends and neighbors to join you for church and then for your family’s Easter meal.  Spend a few minutes at the table reminding everyone why we have this special day—and reiterating that Truth in the prayer.  Make sure your guests receive special Easter cards—maybe even handmade ones.
There’s much more that you can do to build the Truth of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday into your children in particular.  Attend a Good Friday service, watch some Easter videos depicting this week of Jesus’s life.  On Saturday talk with your children about why we as Christians so look forward to celebrating Jesus’s resurrection on Sunday.  Point out that spring is about new birth, new beginnings, just as Jesus died on the cross and rose again to give us a new birth, a new beginning.  Jesus death, burial and resurrection makes
Strong families are made—on purpose.  Strong families use every opportunity to teach the next generation the Truth about Jesus Christ and His great love and sacrifice on behalf of sinful man.  Strong families seek to show by example that Christianity is real, that it is about Jesus and others.  I trust you will endeavor this week to purposefully strengthen your family by making sure they know, regardless of their ages, that all of life makes sense in light of what we celebrate this coming Friday and Sunday.
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