“It’s time to listen to Easter music!”
Have you ever heard someone say this? Probably not.
The extent of preparing for Easter in my home never involved anything grander than dying hard-boiled eggs and snacking on anything sweet, egg shaped, and pastel. Maybe a bunny or two could be spotted around the house, but otherwise, the Easter hub-bub never truly began until the day itself.
Easter warrants at least the hype of Christmas, and yet we fail to anticipate it as we should. True, many Christians observe Lent, a six-week period of self-denial before Easter. Outside of this practice, however, it is common for believers to forget the nearness of Easter until Palm Sunday arrives.
While there are many ways to awaken understanding and enthusiasm for Easter in your home, a simple way to begin is over mealtime conversation. Consider the prospects of the dinner table—unlike most locations, it can potentially draw everyone in your immediate family to one place, for one purpose. You have a captive audience. In the weeks leading up to Easter, using your kitchen table as a safe space to ask questions can help heighten your children’s understanding, excitement, and awe of the gospel.
Here are several questions concerning Christ’s death and resurrection to bring to your dinner table this Easter season:
1. Why are you thankful that Jesus died on the cross?
A common prayer with children is “Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross.” What a beautiful prayer! However, do they understand the great sacrifice and impact that came of His dying? Discussing the complexity of what occurred on the cross can help them understand the impact of His resurrection.
Help your children see:
- We can thank Christ for taking the punishment for our sins, bearing God’s wrath for us.
- We can thank Christ for becoming the bridge between man and God, so we can know God personally.
- We can thank Christ for triumphing over death and darkness.
Maybe you have noticed your level of amazement generally corresponds with your level of understanding. In helping your children grasp the mighty work of Christ, you also impact their potential appreciation for Easter.
For instance, when my great grandmother went to heaven, my family was given a lovely rosebush. For a myriad of reasons, we never got around to planting it, and inevitably, it began to die whilst sitting outside. However, to our surprise it later rooted itself and flourished into a sizable bush without any attention from us. While it may be admired by others, no one can share the same awe of my family who watched it nearly die and, in essence, resurrect.
It is the same with the cross and the Resurrection. The world may know that Jesus is alive, but without understanding the full impact of His death, the contrast of His life is much less awe-inspiring. Your children’s thankfulness for the cross gives them a chance to esteem the resurrection more fully.
2. If Christ’s death accomplished so much, why did He have to rise from the dead?
I remember being confused as a child about why it was important for Christ to rise. On Easter Sunday we proclaim in unison, “The Lord is risen. He is risen, indeed!” Yet it took me a long time to fully realize the need for His resurrection in light of the cross’ power.
This may be an experience your children can relate to. It is easy to think of Christ on the cross and then tack the resurrection on as a bonus. We wear crosses around our necks and see them in our churches, but it is important to know that the cross means nothing without the resurrection: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).
In essence, were Christ still in the grave, the authority of sin and darkness would still reign, despite the crucifixion. Yes, Christ’s sacrifice would still be commendable, but at the end of the day, His sacrifice would be useless if He were still dead. The empty tomb validates the work on the cross.
By asking this question, you may enlighten your kids’ understanding of their personal need for the resurrection.
3. What would you think of Jesus if He were still dead today?
Would your children think differently of you if you promised them a trip to Disneyland, but failed to follow through? My guess is that they would. Similarly, if Jesus were still dead after explaining He would rise again, our opinion of Him would necessarily shift.
As a springboard for understanding this, point your kids to Matthew 17:22-23, “As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.’”
Jesus was candid when He prophesied His death and resurrection. Yet, if Jesus did not truly rise from the dead like He expected, the reliability of all His claims must be questioned. As C. S. Lewis puts it, “Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or He was who He says He was.”
Without the empty tomb, Jesus either lied or was mistaken about his identity … Because of the empty tomb, Jesus’ Lordship is unquestionable.
The Resurrection proves Jesus was not a liar or a lunatic. All ages can grasp this.
4. How does Jesus want us to respond to His death and resurrection?
Have your children decided they want to live for Jesus? The heart of God longs to draw His beloved creations to Himself. At the expense of dinner growing cold, ensure that your children know Jesus wants them to repent of their sins, admit their need for His forgiveness, and invite Him to be the authority of their life. This is the ultimate response.
Aside from the initial choice to live for Christ, our daily habits should be shaped by the good news of the gospel. Following a reminder of Christ’s victory over the grave, Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). In summary, we should hold fast to God as we live for Him, knowing that Christ is triumphant over sin and death. Help your kids see that their foundation is unshakeable when they live for God.
Are family dinners a common occurrence in your home? Make use of them. Absolutely, use this time to laugh and hear about each other’s lives, but also use it to bring clarity about the heart of Easter. There is nothing wrong with egg hunts and candy, but sequestering time to talk about what matters can make a lasting impact on your family. Eat a good meal, and ask good questions.
For more great conversation starters for your Easter table, check out our full Easter Collection here.
A California girl, Lauren Miller is a recent graduate of Biola University and an intern with FamilyLife. The Lord has used the love and stability she received in her own home to impact her heart for families and marriages in today’s broken culture. Through her writing, she hopes to be a voice for singles—being one herself—and to shape how millennials interact with topics such as dating, marriage, and living a Christ-centered life.