Below is a devotional I was asked to write for the Orange County Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) group here in Orange, Texas. This was published in their monthly newsletter.
Often devotionals aimed toward parents often center around the notion of God giving God’s son for the remission of sins for all of humanity. Generally they follow a certain theme which goes something like this. “God is a parent, God gave God’s son, it must have been difficult, aren’t you glad that you didn’t have to make that choice? Thank God today for Jesus.” I’m not saying that I disagree with this albeit formulaic structure but it’s not really the hopeful, uplifting message we are looking for at Easter. So because of this, I want to break the trend.
The story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the few stories that is found in all four gospels. It must have been pretty important to the gospel writers considering that only two (Matthew and Luke) of them provide us with a birth account. This story permeates the rest of the writings contained in the New Testament. The glorious resurrection is referred to on a number of occasions as the central, most important event that has ever taken place. So with that in mind what does this mean for us as parents? How are we to share the Easter story with our family?
Ephesians 6:4 states “As for parents, don’t provoke your children to anger, but raise them with discipline and instruction about the Lord.” (Common English Bible, 2011 Edition). Every time I read this passage I laugh because of the opening line, “don’t provoke your children to anger,” but that is not what I want to focus on. Let’s look at the last half of the verse.
Paul is writing to the church to encourage them to continue to teach their children the story of Jesus Christ, to be devoted to the cause, to make time for it, to set it as a priority in their family’s life. For Paul the story must be preserved, it must be passed down; remember that this was during a time when the Bible as we know it is was not around. Church communities relied on the sharing of letters and stories to encourage and lift one another up.
So what are we to do? I am not advocating that you sit down with your toddler and make them watch The Passion of the Christ, but I do believe that children can begin to learn the story. Read the Easter account in a children’s bible, ask them what they know about Easter and be prepared for bunnies and candy answersJ.
In whatever way you chose, chose to share the story. We as parents can have a lot on our plate, from scheduling this to attending that, but if we heed the words of Paul and raise our children in the way of the Lord then we will see what God can do not only in our lives, but in our children’s lives. Paul’s message to the Ephesians is one that can be translated to 2012, the story of Easter is one that never gets old for we find hope in the story.