I spent weeks prepping my three-year-old son for Easter. He was our first, and I was determined to raise him grounded in the Word of God, on a foundation of Scripture that would hopefully uphold his own faith one day. In the meantime, his grandparents would shower him with candy and bunnies. But we parents had a responsibility. “What is Easter all about?” I’d ask him. “Jesus is alive!” he’d exclaim back to me, on cue. Over and over we’d practice, while I read him books on the resurrection and told him how much Jesus loved him.
A three-year-old can only understand so much about Jesus’s life and death. But we adults recognize our sin and lostness without a savior. Even those who don’t believe in God see the darkness, pain, and violence so prevalent in the world at large and in our own relationships. Christians know that sin, our inner propensity toward self-interest, alienates us from the joy God desires for us. God’s mercy and love shine through most vividly in Jesus, the Son of God made man. God became one of us, showed us the essence of true life, then laid himself down—a sacrifice in our place to pay the price sin demanded.
Then, Easter morning—Resurrection Day—flipped every human thought on its head. Death has been defeated, and Jesus lives, victorious over evil. “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. . . loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. . .” (Rev. 1:5). The resurrection changed the world and should be changing you and me every day.
It changed his friends. “I have seen the Lord!” Mary Magdalene proclaimed to the disciples (John 20:18). Her joyous exclamation reverberates through history. Even today, Christians exchange Easter morning greetings: “Christ is risen.” “He is risen indeed!” We sing songs proclaiming “Alleluia!” with sanctuaries robed in white and gold. We celebrate Hope.
Parents, it’s never too early to share that hope with your children. When I went to wake my toddler up that Easter morning years ago, I patted his back and cheerfully said, “What’s today?”
He rubbed his eyes, then brightened, and chirped, “Easter!” “Yes,” I clapped. “So what does that mean?” He jumped to his feet and bounced on the bed.
He’s 20 years old now, and, yes, he did eventually learn the true meaning of Easter. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!