As we approach Easter this year, I am faced with the enormous task of explaining Easter to my four year old twins.
I'm not talking about explaining the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs. I'm talking about explaining the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We've taken the policy in our house that we are going to be honest about Christmas and Easter. Since we are practising Christians, this means focusing on Jesus.
So yes, we still do the Easter egg hunt. (I'm raising a household of chocolate fiends...what can I say?) And yes, we make bunny crafts. But we also make Jesus crafts. And we don't pretend that a make-believe creature hops around leaving these chocolate eggs for us.
We want our kids to know that we celebrate Christmas and Easter because of what God did for us. We give presents to show our love for others, and God's love working in us. We celebrate on Easter because Christ died for us on the cross and in so doing brought us from death and estrangement from God into the begotten life that He has.
Resurrection party, anyone?
And yes, this means that I am fully prepared to get into apologetics, evidence for the historical Jesus and his death and resurrection, petitionary prayer, the miracles debate, and the whole mass of logical reasons why we believe what we do.
But actually explaining Easter to my four year olds? That scares the heck out of me.
Christmas was easy.
It's Jesus' birthday. We baked Him a cake.
(And then I had to explain why Jesus and God would not in fact be coming and sitting at the living room table to eat cake with us....)
Ummmm.... Well, you see kids, Jesus died on the cross....
Wait... Death. Okay. How do I explain death?
What happens when we die? Well, we go to heaven to be with God.
Umm....nope. That won't work for my Easter explanation. Because if we go to heaven when we die, then why was death a bad thing? Why did Jesus conquer it? If He just went to be with God, then what need was there for the resurrection?
Okay. So maybe I have to start further back, at the fall of humanity.
Uh, I don't think that's going to be any easier....
So God created Adam and Eve. (Let's leave the genre of Genesis and the questions of the historical Adam, v. was this just a truth about human nature that we had fallen off a moral cliff at some point in our evolution, out of this for a moment... Let's go with 'God created Adam and Eve'.)
Originally, human beings lived a life where they were close to God, they were exactly what He intended them to be. And then came along the serpent and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Well, the serpent (who's really the devil, an angel who disobeyed God and tried to set out on his own and be his own god) told Eve that she should eat an apple from this tree. But God had told her not too.
What happened when Eve (and Adam) disobeyed God? Well, this disobedience was a sign of pride, of trying to usurp God and make their own decisions about what is right and wrong. Adam and Eve were trying to make themselves sovereign.
(Mommy enters into a short discussion into explaining "sovereignty" to four year olds....)
So now their wills disobeyed them, and their bodies disobeyed them, and they that's how suffering and death came into the world.
Oh boy! Now we're back to death....
And now my kids have completely lost interest and are eating chips out of dump trucks and jumping off the couch and yell "Mommy! Mommy! He's bothering me! He's LOOKING at me!"
....Who am I kidding? That happened way back at "So God created Adam and Eve"....
Maybe we'll just paint bunnies and make paper crosses and leave the metaphysics out until next year....