What About You?
Have You Ever Needed A New Start?
A story with great celebrations, dinner with friends, miraculous events along with great sadness and heartbreak. So how do we treat this story with our kids, how do we celebrate the parade and the fun dinner knowing it is all leading up to a violent death on a cross? How do we relate the message of who Jesus was and what he did to our children’s young hearts and minds and help them see themselves and their lives in this story? We begin by simply reading it to them. We read the story and allow them to take it in. We allow them to ask questions and struggle with the sadness before the joy of the resurrection. I must admit, this was the hardest of the Bible and Me books to write as there is so much in this great story. Every small part could be talked about and discussed for weeks! Each time I read Easter and Me in my editing process, I wanted to add more to the “What about you?” portion of the book, but even expanding this book to 44 pages didn’t allow for all I could have included. I finally settled on this final version, and I pray that all those discussion points I couldn’t include will be things your children ask you, or that God will lay them on your heart as He did on mine and your family will grow through your family time together talking about the greatest story of all time.
Life Lessons from Easter and Me
People may expect things from you that don’t fit with who you are.
The word Messiah means “God with us.” The people living when Jesus came to earth, expected God to come and fix their lives – get rid of all the bullies, take charge. They didn’t expect God to come as a simple man who told stories of love, healed the sick, and served others. They especially didn’t expect a Messiah who saved them by giving up his life so they could live forever with him. They wanted to be saved from the troubles of life, not saved eternally. Many people will expect things from you in your lifetime. How do you decide which expectations are right for you and which ones would possibly take you down the wrong road? Jesus had no doubt who he was and what he would do, no matter what people thought he should do. He didn’t become a warrior because the people wanted him to. He could have wiped out all their problems in the blink of an eye, but that was not his mission. Each of us has a purpose or a mission for our lives, just like Jesus did. Who can help us know what that purpose is? What will be our guide when we have decisions to make? Will it be the people around us, or will we let God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit lead us? As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children to listen, to feel when the Holy Spirit is guiding us. Talk to them about how some choices just don’t “feel right” for us even if it does feel right for others. Start with small choices (like what to wear, how to treat others, the language they use) so our kids will be prepared to stand firm in who they are when pressure from peers, relationships, and the world bring expectations that may not fit with who they are and their purpose, their mission in life.
Jesus died and came back to life! With a God that powerful, we always have hope!
This is not a superhero fictional story that someone made up. Many people saw Jesus die and many people spent time with him after he came back to life. They watched Jesus suffer and die on the cross, they wrapped him and put him in a tomb. This is the man they knew as their Messiah, their Savior. Now he is dead. This is what we might call a hopeless situation, everything they expected from their Messiah had come to an end and they wouldn’t be saved after all. But even as their hearts were breaking, not knowing where to turn, Jesus was working! Three days later, people saw the results of his work – he returned to them, a living, breathing man. We will all face disappointment, loss, and failures in life. There is no avoiding it. But we can go through those trials with hope, knowing that once we get through it, we will come out stronger, smarter, kinder, better in some way. We have hope because we know Jesus and we know he loves us, forgives us, watches over us, and controls things we cannot even begin to imagine. Yes, even in struggles we have hope. Hope doesn’t just happen though; we have to learn and practice ways to turn to Jesus while we are going through tough times. It is more than wishing for good things to happen. It takes time and work to build our “hope muscles.” As we grow closer to Jesus and our trust in him builds, we will find that we are able to keep a hopeful spirit even when things are not going well for us.
Jesus loves us more than we may be able to understand.
The knowledge that Jesus left heaven and came to earth to deal with life on earth in the same way we do tells us a lot. Who would we give up everything that we have for? Jesus willingly gave up his home, he gave up time together with his father and whatever other wonderfulness there is in heaven. Think about how much you would have to care about someone to give up absolutely everything to go and begin again by yourself. That alone is hard for us to understand, that Jesus made that choice for you, your family, your friends, for all people because he loves us that much.
The fact that Jesus was willing to sacrifice everything so we can join him one day in heaven and live eternally with God proves his great love for us. More love than we can fathom. Your kids love their puppy, they love a tv show, they love their teacher, and they love you! We use the word love often, we talk about ways of sharing and showing love to others, but our love is so much smaller and different than the love of Jesus. His is a love that never fades, never gives up on us! His is a love that is so strong and so powerful that he was willing to go through the sacrifice on the cross to come out the other side, resurrected and ready to love us each and every day of our lives! A love that may just be too big and too deep for us to truly comprehend. And that is a life lesson worth learning!
We have the choice to believe or not
We really need to learn about something before we find that we trust it, or believe it, or have faith in it. Think of it like a chair, imagine you enter a room and are offered a seat in a very old, wooden, rickety chair. Would you simply plop right down on that chair, or would you maybe feel it with your hands first to test its strength? Then if it seems sturdy, you still probably tend to sit down gently, keeping your weight on your toes just in case it collapses. Now, think of that same chair, but this time the chair belongs to you. You know that even though it may look old and rickety it is so well made that it will be strong and solid for years to come. Now would you plop right down on that chair? Sure, because you have faith that the chair will hold you. That faith, that belief, comes from using the chair in the past. You learned it was a sturdy chair. It is not that different when it comes to believing the Easter story. Your choice to believe the Easter story and trust Jesus with your life takes learning. Yes, that learning begins when we first hear this story and we say we believe the story, we believe Jesus is our savior, we believe he died and rose again on the third day, we believe his sacrifice alone brings us from sin and death into eternal life with him. But do we trust that enough to plop our lives down on it like it is a strong wooden chair? Ahh, now that kind of belief or faith takes more learning, more experiencing Jesus, more prayer, and deeper thinking. Believing this great story means we have a responsibility to our God to continue to grow till we are able to do as the disciples did and share the news with the world.