I wrote this blog 5 years ago. My grandkids have grown up a lot since then. Not all of the family were aable to get together this Easter, I only worked 2 services instead of 4 and well things were just different this year. I was still crazy busy. I still had family over for Easter and we still celebrated and had a good time. As I was reflecting on past Easters, I realized that our family has not had what I call a completely “normal” Easter for 3 years. We’ve added some friends and lost some family members. My husband’s mother passed away on Easter – 3 years ago. and last year we weren’t able to get together with family because we were all in Covid quarantine. The thing that has remained constant though is that we are still family. We do still get together and best of all, Jesus is still alive. We have a lot to celebrate and we have hope. My hope is that you too can say, “I have hope because Jesus is alive!”
From 5 years ago – This weekend was a whirlwind, but it was phenomenal. I enjoyed my family. I went on an Easter Egg Hunt with my grandchildren and I helped in The Boardwalk – that’s the nursery/preschool area of our church – for 4 services! Whew! Good thing I had my running shoes on. The highlight – besides grandchildren of course – was having 30 kids in our worship room jumping, singing and shouting, “Jesus is Alive!” Now that’s what I call exuberance!
I wonder though, what the women who went to the tomb that first Easter morning felt? I can only imagine that their emotions ran the gamut from grief to surprise, fear, confusion and finally uncontainable joy as they realized that Jesus was alive. I’m not sure how long it took for their grief and fear to give way to joy as each one of the gospels tells the story a little bit differently, each from a little different perspective. However, the women’s grief and fear did give way and when it did, they ran to tell the disciples. They wanted to share the good news. In their joy to share, I don’t think they stopped to think how the news would be received. They ran to tell because they were excited to share and because that’s what the angel told them to do.
Are you excited to tell what Jesus means to you? Are you excited to share the news that Jesus is indeed alive? Sharing the good news doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as an invitation to church, a prayer or a coffee date and some time to talk. It’s as easy as offering to pray for a friend who is hurting or encouraging someone who is in what seems to be a hopeless situation. It’s showing empathy and it’s sharing what Jesus has done for you.
When you have good news, you want to share it and we have the best news of all. Jesus is alive! So let’s talk. What’s amazing about your friend Jesus? I can think of a lot of things, but one thing that means a ton to me is that Jesus is with me.Because He is alive, I can talk to Him and He hears me. He is always willing to help me. He gives me hope even when the answers may seem long in coming. Now it’s your turn. What has Jesus done in your life? What is amazing about your friend, Jesus?
Let’s talk! No, maybe you and I can’t get together right now to talk, but do you have a friend who wants to talk? Sharing good news with someone can bring joy to that person and joy shared is double the joy! Talking can help us build relationships or friendships. Don’t forget to talk to your friend Jesus too. He wants to hear from you. He wants to hear your joy and your frustrations. He wants to hear when your feel alone, helpless and hopeless – after all what our friends for except to share life and Jesus definitely wants to share life with you.
Let’s stop long enough this week to talk – talk to a friend, talk to Jesus, talk to your family. A simple conversation is a good way to share good news, to help support someone if they have bad news and to simply be a friend. Ask God to help you listen for opportunities to share the good news that Jesus truly is alive. I know He will if we ask Him to. So let’s talk and share some good news!
Because you are alive, I can talk to you everyday, any time and anywhere and I know that you hear me. I want more opportunities to talk to others about you. Whether those opportunities are times to pray, listen or share good news, give me eyes to see those moments when they occur. Show me ways to incorporate your love and what you have done into my everyday conversations. Fill me with your exuberant joy, so that others will see you and find hope. I want to spend time in conversation with you and then from there, share good news with others too. Thank you for what you have done for me. I am so glad that you are alive! Amen
CELEBRATING NEW LIFE & HOPE WITH PRESCHOOLERS
Spring is such a beautiful time of year to get outside and enjoy the new life you see springing up all around you. Here are just a few ways you can do that with your preschooler.
- Take a walk. If you’re brave you can even take a walk in the rain. Even worms and bugs are interesting to preschoolers. When my granddaughter was preschool age, she used to call worms our garden friends.
Look for signs of new life or spring. When you see a crocus blooming or trees that are budding, say, “Thank you, Jesus, that you are alive and always with me.”
- Plant something – indoors or outdoors, just plant something and watch it grow.
- Another gardening idea, give your preschooler their own little garden spot. You will probably need to help them, but let them plant, water and put whatever they desire in their garden so they can watch it grow.
- Have a family discussion on what each one is hoping for. Maybe it’s a trip to Disneyland this summer or maybe it’s a trip to the zoo or maybe even just something new for your backyard. It’s good to have dreams to hope and work for.
- Speaking of the zoo, how about making a trip to the zoo or the local pet store or a farm nearby to see the baby animals. Babies are a sign of new life and hope too.
- Be creative! The freshness and newness of creating something stimulates hope.
- Above all else, celebrate the life and hope that we have in Jesus. Answer this question as a family, “What’s amazing about our friend, Jesus?” Celebrate and give thanks because Jesus is alive.
MORE IDEAS TO DO WITH YOUR CHILD
SHARE A STORY – Jesus Is Alive – Matthew 28, Mark 16
Jesus came to the world as a tiny baby because He loved us, He grew up and He died on for our sins – our wrong choices. But He didn’t stay dead.
Here’s what happened on that very first Easter day. It was very early in the morning. “Let’s go to the tomb” said the women. They were Jesus’ friends. “We can put some good smelling spices on Jesus.” The women walked to the tomb where Jesus had been put after He died. (Walk, walk, walk.) The women were sad that their friend, Jesus had died. (Show sad face.) When they got to the tomb, they could hardly believe their eyes. (Look surprised!) “Look!“ they said. “The big rock has been rolled away from the tomb. I wonder who rolled the rock away?“ Then they saw something even more amazing. There was a bright, shining angel sitting on the rock! The women were scared. (Cover eyes, show frightened face.) They had never seen an angel before.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, but He isn’t here. He is alive!” (Shout together, “Jesus is alive!”) Jesus wasn’t in the tomb because He had risen. He was alive! That’s so amazing! Only Jesus could do that. “Come and see!“ said the angel. The women did. They went into the tomb and saw that Jesus was not there. They were so happy and excited.
“He’s alive! Jesus is alive! Let’s hurry to tell His friends.” the women said. Jesus is really alive!” (Shout together, “Jesus is alive!”) And that is just what they did. They hurried to tell Jesus’ friends. On the way they saw Jesus too.
Jesus is alive and He wants to be your forever friend. Even though you can’t see Jesus, He is very much alive. He loves you and will always be with you. You can talk to Him any time you want. He hears you, because He is alive! Let’s thank Him for being such a special friend.
MEMORIZE: Matt. 28:6 ERV (Hold hands open like holding a book.)
Jesus – (Touch fingers of one hand to palm of the other and vice versa.)
Is not here – (Make fists and put together like a tomb.)
He has risen from death. – (Wiggling fingers, raise hands upward.)
Just as He said He would – (Put hands by mouth as you say this part.)
I’m so glad that you love me and want to be my friend forever. Thank you that you died on the cross for me. I’m glad that you are alive and that I can talk to you any time. I know that you will hear me. I love you Jesus. Amen
KNOW: Jesus is really alive!
TALK ABOUT: Easter, Jesus.
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus wants to be my forever friend.
AND DO: Celebrate Jesus is alive!