Easter…the cross, the empty tomb, the gift of salvation. It’s the glorious culmination to the most holy week in the Church calendar, a day filled with joy. But the culture has gradually filled our Easter celebrations with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and jellybeans. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are willing to spend more money to give kids what they are expecting on Easter morning-candy and clothing.
Here are a few facts:
• In 2012, Americans spent nearly $2.1 billion on Easter candy
• Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps
• Americans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter*
Don’t get me wrong! My family consumes all of the aforementioned treats. (Dark chocolate orange cream eggs are my downfall!) And I have to admit, watching the boys search for plastic eggs filled with their favorite treats and baskets with trinkets and toys was really entertaining. Scott and I would get a kick out of the excited shouts when a basket was discovered.
But in all the fun we had to ask ourselves a hard question, “What is getting the most attention during Holy Week, Jesus or jellybeans?” They expected what we gave them, candy and toys. We weren’t happy with our answer, so we started small with adding faith-building books to the baskets and trinkets with meaning from the local Christian bookstore. When my dad passed away, we contributed funds for an Easter lily in his memory to decorate the sanctuary. (This continues to be an opportunity to talk about how Jesus’s gift is a promise we will see Grandpa Doc again in heaven.) We’ve invited family and friends to join us for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday services and a meal afterward to talk about the Lord. And we’ve prayed for family, friends, and strangers to see Easter in a new way, an eye-opening, faith blown wide-open way.
Easter is a wonderful time to speak truth and grace to those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Who can you invite to a Holy Week service at your church? A personal relationship with Jesus is often just an invitation away. Share your story. How has Jesus changed your life? Why is Easter a hope-filled time for you personally? Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15). Tell others about the Glorious Gift!
Be willing to love big by reaching out to others this Easter. Hurting people are all around us. Maybe this Easter you are the one God has chosen to speak LIFE.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What are your children expecting this Easter? Who do you know that needs to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
The 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting team has a guide for families to assist in focusing on the real meaning of Easter, No Greater Gift: A Family Guide to Celebrating Passion Week and the Resurrection. Each day has an activity, recipe or craft for placing faith at the center of the celebration. If you don’t have the guide, subscribe today and we will send it to you, free.
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott
Mom of two
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting