What is Easter?
The Easter bunny, Easter eggs, Easter bonnets, hot cross buns; we all know what happens at Easter. But what is the original meaning of Easter, and how can we teach it to our Early Years?
While there are a lot of festivals in the Christian calendar, Christmas (the birth of Jesus) and Easter (the death of Jesus) are the two biggies. It’s somewhat easier to teach the Christmas story to our early years because it’s more of a wholesome, family scene – the birth of a little baby in a manger, surrounded by animals and underneath a star. The Easter story is a bit trickier; betrayal, torture, sacrifice and death are the main themes – not necessarily what you want to discuss with your under-5s!
But it’s important to teach our children about the original meaning of Easter, just as we would with any religious festival. So how do we make it palatable for younger ears?
The Easter Story
Christians believe that Jesus was the Son of God, born in a manger in the Christmas story. When Jesus was 30 years old he started teaching people about God and performing miracles. He told people to obey God’s rules and to be kind to each other, giving money to the poor and forgiving people when they say sorry for doing bad things.
Jesus was very popular and had a lot of people listening to his stories. Because of this, the people in charge of the city of Jerusalem started to get angry at Jesus because they were scared of him taking over. The Romans arrested Jesus and put him on trial. Even though he had done nothing wrong, he was found guilty and sentenced to die on the cross.
Christians believe this was all part of God’s plan, however. They believe people were not following God’s rules and would not go to heaven when they died, but Jesus died in their place so everyone who believed in God could go to heaven.
Jesus died on the Friday (which Christians call “Good Friday”) and his friends were very sad. His body was put in a tomb with a big, heavy stone rolled in front of it. Two days later, however, his friends went to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away and Jesus’ body had disappeared. Jesus’ friends were very confused, but then an angel told them that Jesus had come back to life! This is Easter Sunday, and is why Christians celebrate on this day!
Jesus then came to see his friends and they believed he was alive again. Jesus spent some more time on earth teaching people and then, after a few weeks, he went up to heaven to be with God.
The Easter story is important to Christians because it shows God’s love for the world – He sacrificed his son to save everyone on earth, so they could live forever in heaven with God.
To help tell the story to your early years, here are a few resources from Saddleback Kids:
and BBC teach:
How do you teach your early years about Easter? Let us know on our socials at @thatnurserylife!