Apr 6, 2012

Seize the Moment with Tender Hearts

I don't think any heart is too young to start learning spiritual truths.  In fact, the younger the better.  The younger the heart, the more tender, the more curious, the more pure, the more soft. 

It has always been our desire to teach Ella about our Lord and Savior from a very young age.  And a post my friend Amy wrote the other day reminded me that I wanted to share what we've been doing.  We've always said that we want Easter to be as big as Christmas.  Of course Christmas is big...if our Savior was never born then what?  But think for a moment about Easter.  If Jesus never died and ROSE AGAIN...then he was just another man...not our savior at all.  THAT is why Easter is just as big in our book...if not bigger.  Because He DID die for our sins and he DID conquer death and rise again!

We want Ella to grasp that.  To know that.  And the Lord is answering our prayers in that.  I don't feel like Jason and I do enough, teach enough, set good enough examples.  But the Lord is blessing our intentions and answering our prayers even so.  Because that's what God does.  He knows we're not perfect and delights in us anyway!

This is how my conversation with Ella went yesterday:
ME: Ella, why do we celebrate Easter?
ELLA: Because of Jesus.
ME: But what abot Jesus?  What did Jesus do?
ELLA: He died on a cross.
ME: Why?
ELLA: For you and for me.  For the bad things we do.
ME: Did he stay dead?
ELLA: "NO!" exclaimed with great animation and eyes growing wide, "HE'S ALIVE!!!"
ME: And where is He now?
ELLA: He went up to heaven to sit with God.

Oh how happy that makes my heart.  And while only God knows how much she fully comprehends, the seeds are there.  They are planted.  That is the responsibility we've been given.  I know we will water them, and with God's grace, they will grow. 

Are we one of those families that thinks anything having to do with candy, eggs, and bunnies is evil? Oh no my friends!  I believe life is all about making sure the solid foundation is there and having a healthy balance! We've dyed easter eggs, made egg nest treats, made flowers, made string eggs to hang on our "Easter Tree", colored pictures of bunnies etc. She'll be doing an egg hunt and getting an Easter Basket.  Granted, she knows there is no Easter Bunny, that the basket comes from Mommy & Daddy...but let me tell you...that does NOT take away any excitement!  She's so excited about it she nearly pees her pants every time we talk about it! She asks every day how far away Easter is!

So in case you'd like to know what works for us, here's some of the things we are doing and resources we've found that we love: 
This is a really good book for 15mo-2years.  Ella still likes it at 3yo too.  It presents the REAL Easter message in a great, simple, rhyming way with great pictures. (And Easter Gift for Me, by Crystal Bowman)
An Easter Gift for Me [Book]
Here is a little more in depth devotion/book that I'd say is for mature 3year olds and up.  Ella loves it this year.  Is intrigued and can pretty much put the pictures in order at the end and retell the Easter story all by herself! (Read and Share: The Story of Easter.  By: Gwen Ellis) 
The Story of Easter [Book]
Also, our daughter LOVES Berenstain Bears.  The newer ones are better in my opinion and here's one that her daddy got her when he was away on a work trip that she just adores AND it clearly tells the Easter Message.  (The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story)
The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story [Book]
This is the Bible that we LOVE (Read and Learn Bible from Scholastic).  It is perfect for her right now.  The Bible stories are accurate, broken down into language and length that are just right and hold her attention and have colorful pictures she likes.  We read one Bible story during dessert each night as "Family Devotion Time" and it's a big hit.  She always asks us to keep reading another one and we excitedly tell her she has to wait for tomorrow to build the anticipation.  The gleam in her eye as she looks forward to it is priceless!
Read And Learn Bible [Book]
We are doing resurrection eggs again this year and she loves it.  We simplify the explanation to her level and try to make it interactive.  She loves opening the eggs to see what's inside and she can generally tell you what each one means and it's part in the Easter Story!
Resurrection Eggs
We are also doing resurrection rolls which are so great, so easy and so yummy!  This blog also has one gazillion other Christ Centered Easter crafts too!
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