At this point in the school calendar year, a Christian parent could very well be exhausted with one more religiously based holiday to explain to a child. October through April feels like holiday after holiday of being in defensive Christian mode. But I’m not tired of doing what needs to be done. I’ll never tire of helping my children grasp the truth.
When my son was in kindergarten (age 5) the questions came up. Like bunnies.
Why can’t we buy chocolate eggs? What is Easter? Are there really blue bunny rabbits? How does a bunny lay eggs? Do chocolate eggs come from chocolate chickens? Is that how we get my chocolate milk? Do I have to color this in pink and purple and yellow? Do we celebrate Easter? Did the Lord Jesus Christ have a pet bunny?
These questions baffled me because I was homeschooling this boy.
Where did he get all this information? We were studying ocean life at the time.
Television. Even though I had him limited to the very narrow availability of educational TV channels—they too, use holiday themes in their programming. Even the computer apps, that I downloaded and paid for go seasonally thematic.
These, though, were simply tests of character. I was given a chance to prove how a servant of God chooses to follow God’s will rather than his own and is still happy and willing to do so.
I answered the essential issue first. In a stern and serious manner, I narrowed my eyes and looked him straight in the eye.
“Son, we don’t buy the chocolate eggs. They are hollow. Hollow means they are empty inside. We don’t buy chocolates or candy based on holidays. But we can buy all the chocolate we want, whenever we want.”
I steered the shopping cart to the normal candy aisle. I made a dramatic sweeping motion with both arms “Chocolate, is always available, year round. Our family loves chocolate.”
Once that one was out of the way, my little boy was giggling and assured that we are normal people.
That is the essential issue because my child needs to know that there is nothing wrong with our beliefs. He needed to be able to relate to what he could see with his own eyes first.
Now I had the critical task of showing him how we are different for the right reasons—showing him what defines us. Teaching him about a powerful God that he believes in, but cannot see.
When we got home, I pulled out my Bible. I also asked him to pull out his Bible.
I explained that if the Bible teaches us to observe what people refer to as the Easter holiday and its practices, then we would observe it. Our family loves the words of God found in the Bible. Our faith is to uphold all of God’s teachings.
It was a powerful statement.
It’s also the bottom line. If that teaching is not in the Bible, then that teaching has no part in our family life.
That was our first real discussion on that holiday. I answered his many questions matter-of-factly. Like most of the stuff that is done for kids with holidays, it was not complicated to point out simple truths. Bunnies don’t lay eggs. Eggs and bunnies are symbols of springtime. Spring is colorful. Chicks are cute.
There is still the central issue, though. For my children to embrace their faith, they will one day come to the full understanding of who the Lord Jesus Christ is and why He had to die. They will also need to know that He was resurrected and now lives in heaven seated at the right-hand side of the Almighty God.
If I as a parent thought this was too complicated or daunting for my children, and just placated their youth with childish fun – it would get absolutely confusing for them when it came time for them to make sense of the world.
Faith needs to make sense. When it is based on the Bible, and the Bible alone, it makes real sense.
Fellow parents, this is where resourcefulness plays an active role. Taking an active role in the spiritual activities of our children and keeping a busy spiritual calendar helps prove that there are so many opportunities to still have fun and do good while we practice our faith.
Here are some resources if you need help:
One resource for us parents with kids in school is a wonderful letter to our children’s teachers that we can download and customize to help explain to teachers our stance on religious holidays in school.
For moms (and dads too), a must-listen is the Tired Moms Podcast: Explaining the Holidays. Emirick Haro, a mom of 3 boys, gives a perfect solution for any Christian parent or child – understanding who exactly has the burden of proof.
For children and parents, a must-watch is the Let’s Sing episode “Should Christians Celebrate Easter?” available on YouTube.
Stephanie Canete is a staff writer for INCMEDIA.ORG. She is a homeschooling mom of 3!