Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Preparing Our Hearts For Easter

When my oldest daughter was about five, we had some new missionaries come to join us.
Trying to make conversation one day {a few weeks before Easter}, our new friend asked Carey what Easter was all about.
As a mommy, I was sure she knew all the right answers.
Imagine my mortification when she proceeded to tell him all about the Easter bunny, and candy, and baskets.....and not a single thing about Jesus.
Of course, I was sure that in the excitement, she'd just forgotten the important stuff, so I decided to "help."
"Honey, what about Jesus?" I asked.
Blank stare.
"You know, Jesus went to the cross....," I tried to lead the conversation, but we were going no where.
"Don't you remember how Jesus came alive again?"
To this she answered, "Mom, I don't remember that part!"
Yep, I was embarrassed.

I learned something valuable that day.
I learned that I often think I place more value on things with my children than I really do.
I learned how easy it is to miss opportunities to share Jesus with my kiddos.
I learned that just  because I know something, doesn't mean that my little ones do.
I learned that I must make a constant effort to point even my littlest to Christ or easier things will come crowding in.

None of those things my daughter mentioned that day are necessarily bad, but they aren't the reason we celebrate Easter.
It was a case of her being taught something fun instead of something true.
My conscience was pricked that day, and from that time, we've slowly worked as a family to look for Christ in every holiday that it is possible to do so.

We didn't go and throw away all the Easter bunny books,
or ditch the Easter baskets,
or ban chocolate rabbits,
we've just slowly {as time and opportunity have allowed}
transitioned from that which was fun for our family to something not only fun,
but also something to better prepare our hearts for the real reason for the holiday.

I like the way C.S. Lewis put it,
" There is a stage in a child's life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter. I have been told of a very small and devout boy who was heard murmuring to himself on Easter morning a poem of his own composition which began "Chocolate eggs and Jesus risen!" This seems to me, for his age, both admirable poetry and admirable piety. But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly  and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual from the ritual and festal aspect of Easter; chocolate eggs will no longer seem sacramental. And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first. If he puts the spiritual first he can still taste something of Easter in the chocolate eggs, if he puts the eggs first they will soon be no more than any other sweetmeat. They will have taken on an independent, and therefore a soon withering, life."

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! It is so easy to think we've shared the reason we have holidays like Christmas and Easter when we've not. We forget that someone taught us once, too, and we didn't "get it" the first time and needed to be reminded over and over again. Thanks for the reminders that we need to make sure our children know the truth...not just assume they do!