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Jeff Land

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EASTER: Helping your child learn what it’s all about

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Our oldest son, Reed, started coming to the regular church service this year with my wife and me. As someone who works in children's ministry, I've always had strong beliefs about children's worship and certain opinions about how parents should help their kids get the most out of the service. It was, however, quite scary when I faced the idea of taking my own child to worship. At 5, Reed is an electronic guru. He's also an active kid, so I knew that keeping him engaged in the service would be hard. I determined that I didn't want to pacify him with my phone, so my wife Abbey and I decided that we'd have a few rules. [QUOTE@left@180="If you stop at the crucifixion, your child misses the glorious resurrection."
-- Jeff Land, LifeWay Christian Resources]During the music portion of the worship service, Reed would be required to stand when we stood. In addition, he'd use the Bible during the Scripture reading, and while the pastor preached, he could draw in his notebook. When the time came, that plan worked for about five minutes. Believe me, I was tempted to give him my phone! But then something great happened. Reed's first day in big church was the day our church observed the Lord's Supper, and as the deacons served the bread, Reed started asking all kinds of questions: Why can't I eat it? How could that be Jesus' body? What does it taste like? With each question, I became more convinced that Reed's little mind could handle more information than I previously thought. Then we took the cup. Reed had even more questions: Is that really Jesus' blood? It's just grape juice, isn't it? Why would you drink blood? Abbey and I took turns answering Reed's litany of questions. The next time we took the Lord's Supper, Reed quietly whispered to us what he remembered from the first time and asked more questions he'd been pondering. Easter is a great time for parents to teach their kids about Christ's death and resurrection. It's also a time that many parents appreciate their kids' Sunday School teachers doing the same because it's hard to gauge what to share and what not to share. Imagine explaining to your 3-year-old that even though Jesus never disobeyed His parents and never did anything wrong, He was beaten, spat upon and then hung on a cross. Christ's obedience to His Father and His love for us is what led Him to the cross. The beauty of Easter is foreshadowed by the darkness of Good Friday. You should take every opportunity with your kids to share the hope of Jesus' miraculous life as well as the love and obedience He showed on the cross. Here are a few ways to share the beauty of Easter with your kids: Avoid the trap of a commercialized Easter. For our family, we've chosen not to have the Easter Bunny. Abbey and I felt that introducing its existence to our kids would take away from the Easter message that we want our kids to know. We want to keep Easter a sacred day in our home and help our kids know that it's something special. Getting caught up with the worldly view of Easter can create confusion for your kids, who may learn that Easter is more about coloring eggs and getting baskets than the resurrection of our Savior. Tell the whole story. Though you might not share all the details of Christ's trial, persecution and crucifixion, you should share key parts of the biblical text with your child. Depending on your child's ability to comprehend, you can adjust the information you share. Your child should know that Jesus was judged unfairly, died on a cross and rose again. If you stop at the crucifixion, your child misses the glorious resurrection. If you start at the resurrection, your child misses Christ's payment on the cross for our sins. The whole Easter story is transformational. Focus on Jesus. He's the hero of the story. Remind your child about His life and teachings. Talk about His perfect nature as the Son of God. ...