Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.
~ Clarence W. Hall
When I was a little girl I couldn’t wait for Easter. After presenting us with our Easter baskets, Mom would dress me and my siblings in our new Easter outfits and we would head to church for the special service. Afterwards, still in our Easter best, my family, along with mom’s siblings and their families, gathered at my grandparents’ house for a big lunch. Once the kitchen was clean—a detail that drove us kids crazy with anticipation—the adults would hide eggs for me, my brother, sister and cousins to hunt in the front yard. I don’t know how many times we would beg the adults to hide the eggs ‘just one more time’ but, looking back, I appreciate the patience they had with us. As I later found out with my own kids, the task of finding new hiding spots in Grandma and Grandpa’s small front yard became exasperating after a while.
I’m sure many of you have similar fond memories from childhood Easter holidays. As kids, we don’t really ‘get’ the reasoning behind the most celebrated day in Christianity. But as we grow in our relationship with Christ, we understand the significance of the resurrection and the unfathomable gift our Lord and Savior made available to each of us—rescue from eternal damnation and the hope of living with Him forever in Paradise. But the key point here is that He makes it available to us. Yes, it’s a gift. However, in order to enjoy the benefits of a gift we must acknowledge and accept it.
The other day as I was cleaning the kitchen, I had the TV on and was absentmindedly listening to The Meredith Vieira Show. I don’t usually care to watch that show but was in the middle of something and didn’t want to stop, so I left it on.
Meredith’s guest, Gracie Helbig, was put on the spot and asked to reverse places and interview Meredith. With no prep time for questions, Gracie nervously made small talk. Then she asked Meredith if she was excited for Easter.
I turned toward the TV, curious how Meredith would respond.
Her demeanor changed as she told Gracie,”I actually am very excited for Easter. I love Easter. Do you love Easter?”
“I feel medium about it”, Gracie said, shrugging her shoulders.
“I love a basket and to this day I make an Easter basket,” Meredith responded. “And my kids are in their twenties!”
Gracie, laughing at her said,” I love the reason you love Easter is ‘I love a good basket’.”
“I mean, I love the lilies.” Meredith tried to define her reasoning. “I mean, I don’t want to get religious here. Keep it to the bunny.”
“And the chocolate”, Gracie retorted.
“Yeah!” Meredith agreed.
I bristled listening to the comments. It stung to know thousands, possibly millions, of people had just been told it was ok to ignore the real reason for Easter—Christ’s sacrifice. No, Easter isn’t about bunnies, baskets or religion; it’s about God coming down as a man and building a relationship with us. But when you say the word religion in the Christian realm, many equate it with Jesus.
I don’t like the term religion. It has started wars and ostracized people for centuries. It conjures up rules and regulations, required liturgies and judgmental attitudes. It doesn’t say anything about the reason we celebrate Easter in the first place. It’s all about the grace. Meredith and Gracie have missed the greatest gift of all amidst the bunnies, baskets and chocolates.
I have nothing against bunnies, baskets, chocolate and eggs being used as symbols of Easter. As a matter of fact, I enjoy the decorating and the hunt. We still give our kids Easter baskets every year, making sure to include something that points them to Jesus along with their chocolate bunny.
When they were little I found a great tool to teach my kids the true meaning of Easter; Resurrection Eggs. There are a dozen colorful plastic eggs each containing a symbol of Easter. A booklet is included that even allows you to give a devotional on the days leading up to Easter Sunday that go along with the contents of each egg. My kids loved opening the eggs to see what was inside and it gave me the perfect opportunity to explain the story without them realizing they were being taught.
A few minutes ago I dug around in my pantry to see if I still had them. Viola! There they were. I pulled them out and began carefully opening each egg, trying to remember what they held. Just as I finished looking through every one, my 18-year-old son, Jacob, walked in.
“Hey,” he said excitedly as he saw the box of eggs.”I remember these! I always liked opening the eggs to see what was inside.”
And so he carefully began opening each egg, just as I’d done. I asked if he remembered what a few of them symbolized and he came up with just about every answer. Then he put them back in the box and went to get ready for a date. It warms a mother’s heart to see her grown son still have fond memories of a spiritual tool that was used to teach him the greatest story ever told.
I pray that Meredith and Gracie will one day come to know and appreciate the true reason for our joy on Easter Sunday—the empty tomb and God’s gift of grace..
What special ways have you taught your kids Bible stories that made learning fun?
If you’d like to order the Resurrection Eggs, visit
www.shopfamilylife.com/resurrection-eggs or you can find them at your local Family Christian store.