Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Easter is coming . . . and we have a great story to tell

It took me a while to tell my kids the story of Easter - Jesus death and resurrection. I didn't want them to grow up so familiar with what Jesus went through that it didn't have an impact on them. I remember the first time we told them, they were so upset that Jesus got killed! AND they asked great questions... and they wrestled... and wondered.. and when Jesus came back to life.. it blew their minds . . . All good things. The story of Easter is foundational to our faith.  Here are 3 different age appropriate ways to pass on the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.  
First, for the little guys, our 2 - 5 year olds - we have "God gave us Easter" written by Lisa Tawn Bergren and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant.

 This book is full of Polar Bears, nature ... and QUESTIONS and comments about Easter that you might hear from your 3 year old. One after the other.. Why? How? Why not? What about... then they get distracted... only to start all over again.. Why? How... You might not read every page every time - there are so many wonderful thoughts to discuss with your children (what about the Easter bunny?) in a gentle way that enjoys fun traditions but always points back to God and what did in Christ on the cross and into the resurrection.
Next, for the 5+ crowd, we have "Easter Love Letters from God" written by Glenys Nellist and Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp.
This book covers the Easter story in 7 topical sections. It's totally still a picture book, but it's not meant to be read in one sitting. Each section would make a great family devotional - each story brings you one step closer to the resurrection. A unique aspect of the Love Letter books, is the love letter. It's a little flap with a stamp and address on it that you lift up and it's a special note written right to the reader- from the Father. It's very powerful as the Father talks about his feelings about his son during this process AND about each of us. Easter Love Letters from God are full of love and hope and beauty. A very engaging the whole family into the Easter story. 

And finally, for the 7+ group, or even for the whole family to read together (although you might lose the little ones because it's long and there aren't many pictures... but some will hang in there), there is Amon's Adventure - A family story for Easter" written by Arnold Ytreeide
You might be familiar with Jotham's Journey and the other family stories for Advent also written by Arnold Ytreeide. Here is his contribution to the Easter story. Amon's Adventure includes 28 chapters and is meant to be read chapter by chapter during the weeks leading up to Easter, and to help those who read it have meaningful discussions and make real life connections as they reflect on God's powerful love expressed in Christ's death and resurrection. 
Ytreeide includes a parent teacher guide and thoughts about how to introduce Lent to children.  All of Ytreeide's stories are told from a young boy or girl's personal perspective as they engage in the greater story. Amon encounters Jesus and his followers in the season of Lent and the event we now call Easter Sunday.

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