Take a deep breath. Now take another one. Now audibly say, "It's ok if I don't have all the answers. I am still a good parent."
I don't mean to make light of any anxiety you might have in talking to your children about the realities of Easter. In fact, I want to applaud you for taking on this somewhat daunting task! I also want to encourage you that the effort is worth it!
But take a second and read Matthew 27 & 28. Do you understand it all? Probably not, so it's ok if your child doesn't understand 100% either. This is one of those things we call a "mystery of the faith". This is one of those wonderful times when you teach as much as you can and then you start in on the work of explaining what faith is – now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, help them understand that it's ok to trust in God's work even when we can't articulate it completely.
And you're probably thinking, that's nice, but for real, how do I talk about Easter. Here are a few tips on hitting some of the highlights:
- Your child can handle hearing about death – but in bite-size pieces. They see dead bugs, dead flowers, and have probably heard about dogs "playing dead", so the concept is not completely foreign to them.
- When talking about Jesus' death - the people caused it and God redeemed (made good out of bad) it.
- Why did the people want Jesus to die? We all make poor choices. These people were scared, jealous, and didn't like that Jesus was teaching things that they disagreed with.
- God caused Jesus to rise again! Woohoo! This is a good and wonderful thing! Though Jesus died, God made good out of it. He took Jesus' perfect life and unfair death and allowed it to count for us. Now we, like Jesus, get to live in relationship with God forever!
- So did God want Jesus to die? No, God's original intention was for us all to live peacefully with Him, but humans made (and still make) mistakes and caused that to not work out. But like all things that aren't as God originally planned, He made good out of them!
- So why did God not just help Jesus off the cross? Technically Jesus could have helped himself off the cross, but both God and Jesus knew the bigger picture. They knew Jesus' death would mean good for all of us.