Intentional. This word may be as important as any factor in good parenting. The idea is that, as parents, we want to be intentional in the process of training our children for their 7000days
from crib to college. I love challenging moms and dads to grab parenting by the horns and be intentional with those important moments, memories and messages every child needs.
Easter is upon us, so how can a parent be intentional to share the Gospel with their children and celebrate the Risen Lord Jesus together? Let’s face it, for most people, it’s just easier and less intimidating to tackle homework, bed times or curfews than to talk about Jesus in our homes. It just feels weird, at least that is what you will tell yourself. You might even try to convince yourself that you should just let your kids figure things out as they grow up. Sounds progressive and modern but couldn’t be further from the calling of parenthood. Parenting is about being intentional and doing our part to "train a child in the way he should go…” And that means stepping up to the plate of parenting and making sure your kids don’t miss the life-changing message of the Gospel.
Here are a few suggestions and resources to help you make the most of Holy Week and Easter this year.
1. Engage your child’s imagination.
I wrote a children’s book called Giant Love
a few years ago that has helped thousands of children understand the Gospel story on their level. This is a very colorful and imaginative story that helps kids visualize the Gospel story and provides parents with a step by step guide to talk to their kids about placing their faith in Jesus. I use this book with my kids and recommend for you as well. Other great resources are: The Children’s Story Book Bible (little kids)
, the Action Bible (pre-teen boys)
By the way, I always get questions about the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts. Here’s my opinion - those elements can be a lot of fun for kids (and sometimes adults). My advice is, don’t boycott the Easter bunny, however, give Jesus, namely His resurrection from the dead, the center stage. At my house the Easter Bunny, Santa, the tooth fairy and any other imaginary friends we have all believe in Jesus and help us point to Him!
2. Share Communion together.
I love introducing this expression of worship in my home. I have only included my oldest child since he is my only child who has made a profession of faith in Jesus. Here’s a quick guide to follow:
Start by explaining to your family that Communion is a special way we remember the death of Jesus. It is His death on the cross saved us from having to die for the sins we committed. Jesus took our place, which is something we never want to forget. Communion has three steps:
Take the Bread: Read Luke 22:19 "And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Jesus used this metaphor with His disciples. He literally took a piece of bread and broke it to symbolize that His body would be broken for people like you and me. This reminds us that sin always has consequences and Jesus willingly accepted the punishment for the sins we committed. As you tear a piece of bread (no, it doesn’t matter what kind of bread you use) have everyone pause to thank Jesus (privately or out loud) for taking on the punishment He did not deserve. Give everyone a piece of bread and have them eat it.
Take the Wine: Read Luke 22:20 "And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Pour a cup of red wine (grape juice at my house) into a cup. Remind your family that Jesus used a cup of wine as a metaphor for His blood that would be shed on the cross. There was no mistaking what Jesus was doing. He was telling His disciples that He was the sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world. Jesus’ blood was like the soap that washed our sins away. Encourage everyone to say a prayer of thanks (privately or out loud) to Jesus for dying to forgive them of their sins. Everyone should take a drink - either from the same cup or their own cup.
Be thankful. The practice of Communion is usually followed by the singing of a hymn or a collection to give the poor. I encourage your family to identify one way you can actively show your gratitude to Jesus for what He has done for you. This is a great way to practice what 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.” Our celebration of Jesus’ death should motive us to boldly share the message of Jesus in word and deed.
3. Pray for and prioritize Easter services
I know this is what you expect a preacher to say, but there is a reality that Easter is the #1 most attended day for churches around the globe. Every pastor knows that this may be the one opportunity all year to connect with some people. This should not be a point of judgment or frustration, who cares if this is the only time someone shows up to church!? Let’s make the most of it! Pray for your pastor, pray for the Gospel to be clearly presented, pray that many respond to the Gospel and place their faith in Jesus.
Serve in ways that ease the burden of a big day. Remember that your church family is welcoming many guests and some long lost relatives! Do your part to make Easter Sunday an incredible experience for everyone. You will be tempted to think your brunch, lunch or Sunday afternoon nap plans are more important than the church services. Don’t forget that as Christ followers we are always on mission. Easter can be an opportunity to model for your children that you are willing to set aside some of your convenience and comfort to serve the mission of God. Don’t worry, lunch will wait.
I hope this encourages you as you prepare for Easter this year.
If these tips are helpful please let me know and share with your friends!