By Elizabeth Prata
I work as a teacher aide. Some of the children I work with are in kindergarten. I was working in my small group, and they noticed that some new decorations had gone up. There was a large chick coming out of an egg hanging on the door, and around the school were other eggs, in pastel colors and with some rabbits too. One girl asked about it and I said it’s Easter decorations.
That got them talking about Easter and of course Easter egg hunts. Easter egg hunts are huge for kids. They burbled and chatted.
When’s Easter anyway? asked a girl.
April! answered a boy.
Another child asked “What is Easter about?”
They all explained; “It’s when you hide eggs with candy in them and hunt for them all around”.
I followed up. But what else is Easter for?
Again they explained that the “Easter Bunny comes and you find candy and eggs in a basket”.
One girl explained, “When you go to church…”
Yes, yes? I eagerly leaned forward.
“…and you hunt for eggs and find candy.”
But isn’t it about Jesus?
The girl said, “Of course. He lays out the eggs.”
It’s charming and sad all at once. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is always funny and they say unexpected things but they also have more truth in them than we like to think. Kid life is all about getting to the next candy bonanza. To them, Easter is just another fairy tale that has fantastical, magical creatures like a rabbit that delivers candy and eggs in a basket filled with fake grass.
It’s one reason not to depend on a child’s assertion that he or she has ‘accepted Jesus into their heart’ because to become a true believer one must understand sin, our position before Christ, His anger over it, and repentance. This isn’t possible with kids who still believe the tooth fairy flies in to your bedroom and takes the tooth from under your pillow. They still believe in Santa.
I never liked Easter Egg hunts. This was because I never found any eggs. Even as a kid I didn’t enjoy competitions, I was slow and ungainly, I didn’t quite understand the point, and there were always lots of bullies intent in shoving you down to get that egg first. I left a grass-stained mess with bruises, hurt feelings and an empty basket.
I did enjoy the wonderful Easter baskets my parents left by the fireplace. They always held crinkly grass, chocolate, and pretty little jelly beans and more. They were always both artful and bountiful.
I enjoyed dyeing the eggs too, a lot. There was always a new dress to wear, with hat and gloves, for Easter. It was one time per year (of the two) we attended a church. The point of the day was the dinner afterwards.
Yes, it’s all about Jesus. The crinkly grass, baskets, egg hunts, dyed eggs, ham dinners, and Easter outfits aside, the power of the resurrection is a wondrous event to contemplate. We take a special day to praise our Father for His power and His love in resurrecting His son.
I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17b-18)
So…hunt for eggs if you must. But look for Christ.
Essay: Evangelizing Children
Book: Do Not Hinder Them: A Biblical Examination of Childhood Conversion