by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
I find it hard to believe that we’re just days away from Palm Sunday. If you’re anything like me, you’re still looking for something green to wear in honor of your Irish heritage. It is, after all St. Patrick’s Day! The fridge may already be decorated with shamrock or leprechaun drawings. What many of us miss, however, are the facts concerning the real Patrick of Ireland who knew very well the full meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.
Our culture’s secular mindset has erased Patrick, this giant of a Christian hero – second only to Paul of the book of Acts, in my estimation. The real Patrick was not at all what current folklore portrays with fanciful stories.
Here’s the real scoop! God used Patrick of Ireland in a mighty way to turn a dark, heathen part of our world into a vibrant Christian land. He and his followers were instrumental in rescuing the resurrection message and thrusting it forth to bless large parts of what we call Europe – even to our present time. Check this out, if you haven’t already. It’s an amazing, exciting story, full of demonstrations of God’s power much like what we read about in the New Testament.
Which brings me to the topic in the title – what we call Easter, celebrating Resurrection life. If we’re not from a liturgical branch of the Church we think of lent as the past tense of lend, not a term referring to a season of repentance and sacrifice. But the forty days of Lent are nearly over, and sadly, many of us may already be struggling to keep the cute bunnies and new outfits our kids might wear from overshadowing what Holy Week was – and still is – all about.
So may I challenge us all that there’s time enough to make plans to guide our families into worshiping a Risen Savior, with gratitude for what he suffered on the cross for our sake? The Church children’s ministry, even at its best, is not as powerful a tool, as effective in God’s hands, as what we can provide at home.
- We can draw our children into the decision making – the planning. Garner their ideas and let them lead us into ways we can worship the Risen Savior together. We can let them choose Scripture passages that portray the cross and resurrection events and suggest ways to bring these to life through art, crafts, recipes, drama, and the like.
- We can make use of online and DVD resources. The Story of Jesus for Children, from The Jesus Film Project, is excellent. Seven fun Easter countdown activities is Wycliffe’s offering to families with younger, school-aged kids. How about Veggie Tales? Poetry from hymn books? Older kids doing searches online for ideas?
- We can share thoughts from The Case for Easter by Strobel with our teenagers.
- We can brainstorm for outreach ideas. There may be ways God would use us to spread the Good News that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead – to our neighbors, close friends, extended family members.
- We might consider challenging kids to join us in giving to an organization that shares this Gospel gladness far from us – even overseas.
What a joyous season we’re entering! A time of rejoicing that Patrick brought to his beloved people in Ireland. A time of rejoicing in our family circle to be able to say –
It is true! The Lord has risen! …from Luke 24:34
If you’d like a bit of fiction that opens a window on Patrick and his world, email me with your email address and I’ll return a document that you can share with your kids.