With Easter right around the corner, I've been thinking about ways to make it all more 'real' to my 2 1/2 year old because I think it's a little too easy to just go through the motions with all the busyness of the day, possibly including a sunrise church service, visiting family, food, & of course Easter egg hunting with plenty of candy & coinage... but how do we get across the true meaning of Easter to our little ones?
This year I decided to bust out the visuals for Sarah to help explain who Jesus is & why He died for us. The first way I am attempting this is:
1. Reading her bible stories, watching christian cartoons, bringing her to church, & simply talking to her about Jesus on a regular basis (as well as acting Christ-like in front of her to set a good example as to how God wants us to treat each other).
As a christian momma, I feel that my most obvious mission field is that of my own home. I want to make sure Sarah grows up with a firm foundation, rooted in the truth of God. How we've done this in the past has been to simply read her christian-based books. She LOVES story-time & this is super easy to implement, but one day I wondered if it was sinking in... so I asked her "Sarah, do you know who Jesus is?" ...blank stare, gaze averted, losing focus... I try to reel her back in, "Sarah, who's Jesus?" ...still confused... OH NO! My child has NO idea who JESUS is!!! Forgetting the fact that she's only 2 1/2 years old (like, exactly as of today!) I allowed condemnation to pour down on me as I quickly tried to think of how to work this conversation (but don't stress like I did mommas, just pray for God's timing & guidance)... then I simply said, "Jesus is God's son... & God created the whole world... & He loves you!" Of course she didn't say much ("oh" she says with a smile before going back to what she was doing), but this was our beginning in truly acknowledging who Jesus is. I will definitely do my part now to be more aware of how I am representing & explaining God to her in the future : ) ...and we will probably watch an Easter Veggie Tales or Davey & Goliath movie on Easter day - might spark some chatter!
2. Building a resurrection garden together
By way of Pinterest and one of my favorite christian authors, Ann Voskamp, I discovered a cute hands-on way to show Sarah the true meaning of Easter... but since I don't have a clue how to garden at this point in my life, we will probably use non-perishable items (by that I mean fake flowers) with pretty stones and a cross and maybe a small flower pot with a tray laying on its side that Sarah can paint. The pot will be the tomb, the tray is the stone rolled in front of the opening :) ...I could jazz this up or add story-lines as we go, but I think making something permanent that we could bring out during the Easter season or keep out year-round would be a fun family activity. The photo below is from the following website, but hopefully I'll replace it with our own soon!
(Learn how to DIY here: http://wearethatfamily.com/2012/03/diy-mini-resurrection-garden/)
3. Resurrection Easter Eggs
Now this is actually something I'm going to demonstrate to the kids for children's church Easter Sunday (my mom's the pastor). There is a 'big-kid' version with 12 eggs you can purchase from http://shop.familylife.com/p-1717-resurrection-eggs.aspx (which you could probably also make on your own, but their version IS very pretty) - then I figured that since most of our big kids probably already have a basic understanding of what it means to be a christian, I thought that I would try to gear this toward the itty-bittys - like kindergarten or 1st grade and under... So when I found a toddler DIY version of this with only 6 eggs at http://happyhomefairy.com/2012/04/01/resurrection-eggs-for-toddlers/ I got really excited! We could keep it short, simple, & the best part = SWEET! Yes there will definitely have to be candy handed out as we reveal the meaning of the last egg containing a 'sweet surprise' which symbolizes Christ conquering the grave & His being able to cover our sins so that we can spend eternity in heaven... Also hope to have some photos up on the projector depicting what each little egg-symbol stands for... for added effect ;) and hopefully I can get a video of how this experience goes & can post it here. Will also try to put the toddler eggs together & go through it with Sarah a few times before Easter Sunday to give her a little head start... (remember she's only 2 1/2, haha). These are just a few things I plan on trying out in the next week or so before Easter, but they are all tools I hope to bring up throughout the year since, as christians, we should celebrate the true meaning of Easter every day of our lives by the way we LIVE our lives! Bless you!
"Lord help us to be aware of our children's understanding of You. May we be diligent in training them up in Your truth from a very young age & continue to assist them in their faith as long as necessary, being in prayer for their precious lives & influences around them on a regular basis. Amen."
How about you? What are ways you have found to share Christ with a toddler or young child? I would love to hear what has worked for you & your family! Share your comments below : )