When I was a young mom, Easter was an easy holiday. Boil eggs, color the eggs myself, get a basket, fill it full of new baby toys, take pictures and relax.
When I had toddlers, Easter was a fun holiday. Boil eggs, help my children color the eggs, buy a few outside toys (such as a tricycle and bouncy balls), take pictures and play with my children.
When I was a mother with young children, Easter was an enjoyable holiday. Boil eggs, take pictures of my kiddos creatively coloring their own eggs, buy a basket, fill it full of candy and spend the weekend coloring with sidewalk chalk, playing with hula hoops and hunting down the three lost colored eggs before bedtime.
When I had preteens, Easter was simply on repeat, with slight changes: tricycles became bicycles or caster boards, the clothing was Easter dresses and spring church ties, and I felt the need to explain the purpose behind the holiday without relying on the Easter bunny.
Easter on repeat ended a few years ago. My teens live in a digital culture that is constantly featured as a reality of daily life. Grueling demands for high GPAs, cellphones, friends, planning for college, sports and extracurricular events keep families busy.
Easter now is filled with pressure for me as a mom to make sure my teens truly understand this precious gift — the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Here are five ways to help involve teenagers in celebrating the meaning of Easter. They can also be adapted to include preteen siblings.
Each morning of the week leading up to Easter, post a note in a visible location for your teens.
Use the following scriptures as a guide: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah 32:39-42, Isaiah 55:3, John 1:29 and 1 Corinthians 15:3. Prayerfully ponder the scriptures your teens are in need of, as each family is unique. Give your children a blank note card each night, and encourage them to write their feelings as they pertain to the referenced scripture. Place an Easter basket in a visible location and ask your teens to deposit their cards in the basket. As a family, read the cards on Easter Sunday.
The night before Easter morning, read Luke 22 with your teens.
"This cup is the new covenant between God and his people — an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you." Change the words in this verse to fit your family. Example: "This (tradition) is the new (promise) between (our family and) God and (our friends and neighbors) — an agreement with (our words and deeds), which (we offer as a pledge to Christ to stand as a witness of him, in all things)." Follow this tradition each year with a new version of your family motto as your family changes and grows.
Romans 10:9 states, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Christ loved us enough to give of himself on the cross. Showing love for the Savior publicly is a way to establish long-lasting values of faith in our youths.
Exodus 12:11-13 describes the sacrifices offered according to the law of Moses. To sacrifice our time, our talents and our energy to glorify God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, is one of the greatest lessons we can teach our children. We live in a world full of need, and we have been blessed with abundance. Take time to perform yard work for someone who is elderly. Bake cookies for the family next door. Write lovely spring quotes with chalk on the sidewalk in front of a local community center.
Young adults need to know it is perfectly acceptable to make mistakes. God is loving, merciful and tender. His ability to love us is beyond any earthly measure. His love for us is eternal. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
This Easter, forgo some of the frivolous fun and give your family the gift of truly knowing our Savior, Jesus Christ. While Christmas celebrates his birth, Easter brings us the blessings of the remission of our sins and the promise of a glorious future in the kingdom of heaven.