Happy Easter! I hope your weekend was as full of love, laughter and family as mine was. We had a wonderfully prepared meal, a few fun easter egg hunts, WAY too much candy, and a couple of wonderful church services. It was during one of these church services, Good Friday service to be exact, that I had a little epiphany about parenting and Easter.
This past Friday while I was enjoying our Pastor share about the crucifixion of Christ, I suddenly became very aware that there were children in the sanctuary with us. Our pastor was sharing in a fair amount of detail all that Christ endured on the day of his crucifixion. And while I appreciate all of the details being shared to renew my understanding of all that Christ did to save us, I found myself pondering if this was appropriate for the children sitting in the service with us or not. This was intended to be a family service so I became curious as to what the other parents were thinking as well.
Even after the service was finished, I continued to mentally chew on this idea of how much detail was too much for little ears when it came to Christ’s death. I kept thinking, “Aren’t these 5 and 6 year olds a little young to be hearing that Christ was whipped and beaten and flogged?”. And that’s when I realized, no; no they’re not too young.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Wait, what Molly? Are you crazy? We should be shielding our kids from that type of detail! We don’t need them to think of Christ’s crucifixion with these gory details of his flesh being ripped from his body and his head being pounded with thorns. Cover their ears! How dare my child be subjected to this??”. But you guys, this is the biggest lie from Satan of all. And I bought into it too.
Here’s the deal. We are only too eager to share about the cute little story of Christmas where the greatest gift of all was born to this Earth – little baby Jesus. Awww how cute and innocent. God sent his son as a tiny adorable human and we can rejoice that this cherub looking baby is our Savior. But the truth of the matter is, while this little baby grew to be a man who preached and changed many people’s lives while on Earth, the real gift wasn’t his birth, but it’s found in his death. The whole reason to celebrate his birth at all was because he came to die. And why would we “shield” our child from the actual reason we celebrate Christ? The only reason to make a big deal about the baby Jesus was because he was to grow up and be tortured and murdered so that his blood would cover our multitude of sin, right? So why the heck would we want to hide the real story from our kids?
I realized that although the details are gruesome and uncomfortable to hear at times, that this is the whole point. There was nothing natural about Christ’s death on the cross for us. It was terrible and gory and evil and it was everything he was meant to go through, for us. Will it always be easy to share these details with my children? No, it’s going to be difficult to find the right way and words to share, but I’m done with just having my children know the Sunday School, cookie cutter version of “Jesus died on the Cross for us”. I want them to truly understand the significance of this. They must understand the horror of that day to fully grasp what Christ willingly did for them. How else can they be able to accept and understand God’s grace? And how much more does this allow them to celebrate the fact that Christ then arose 3 days later!
Now don’t get me wrong ya’ll. I’m not suggesting we rent Passion of the Christ, line up our 3 & 4 years olds to watch it and hope for the best. Obviously there are still some guidelines as to what would be appropriate for our children (and their respective ages) and what’s not. All I’m suggesting is that we remove the filter we’ve been using to tell our children about Christ’s death. And let’s be honest, with all the crap (pardon the potty talk) we let our kids watch on TV with violence and language, are we really going to start limiting the truth of the Bible? This is the most important event in history to teach them and the details are relevant and they are true!
I for one am taking the filter off. My kids are going to understand how horrible of a death Christ endured. I am done shielding them from the importance and magnitude of what Christ did for them.
My kids, and yours, are not too young for Easter.