By Brad Haugaard
Last Easter eve I came to the point where I had heard just about enough from my son and daughter about bunnies and chicks and eggs. It just seemed something rather crucial was missing.
As I was pondering this I decided we should start an Easter tradition at our house that would emphasize Jesus for our children. We tried it and it worked quite well, so I thought I'd share it.
In short, Patti and I explained the Easter story to the kids, and then wrapped "Jesus" (the little engineer from my son Mark's Tomy train set) with a tissue paper shroud and placed him into the tomb (an open paper bag on its side, surrounded on either side -- and bridged on top -- with books). Then we rolled a stone (a grapefruit) over the entrance to the tomb and placed two soldiers (a pair of Marky's little toy knights) to guard the entrance.
"Okay," I said to the kids, "You guys can come out here early in the morning and see if Jesus is still in the tomb, or if He has risen. If He has risen, you come get Mommy and Daddy out of bed and get us to come look. We'll say you made a mistake and you're all wrong, but you keep telling us to come look."
It was amazing.
Kirsten wanted to know if an angel was going to roll away the stone; Marky wanted to peek into the tomb all evening (I wouldn't let him); Kirsten even told Marky if he got up first he had her permission to push her out of bed (This does not happen at our house).
Well, I don't usually get up before 6 am, but there were two eager little children at our bedside before the crack of dawn. They wanted us to know that Jesus had risen and insisted that we come see. We did. The grapefruit was rolled away, the soldiers were lying down, out cold, and I "discovered" that "Jesus" had risen to the mantle over the fireplace.
I talked to the kids later and confirmed (as they suspected) that I had moved the stone, and explained that we had done this to remember Jesus' resurrection. But knowing that their dad had a hand in the affair didn't make any difference. They both loved it and wanted to do it again.
Maybe this year I'll start it on Friday with Jesus death, and make a paper mache cave and get some little Roman soldiers and paint them, and have a little lightbulb for their campfire, and add some angels for Easter morning, and ...
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”
– Matthew 16:26