Remembering the Cross Year-Round

I was nervous the first time the Resurrection came up in conversation with Big J. Jesus’ death on a cross is not a neat and tidy subject, and explaining it to a then-three-year-old seemed way above my pay grade.

And WAY out of my comfort level.

It was that year I realized just how much the secular traditions surrounding Easter contrast with what Easter is really all about – and also how confusing this holiday could be to a child.

Bunnies, chocolate, eggs…

Torture, betrayal, blood, death…

Could these be any different?

As I much as I wanted to avoid the crucifixion discussion with my boys {only because I felt so unqualified to teach them about it}, Easter could not be fully explained to them and appreciated without it.

More importantly, our salvation cannot be explained without Jesus’ death and resurrection.

So we read and talked and I answered questions. We talked about our sins and salvation. At three years old, I didn’t know how much of it would sink in, but I knew this was my role in being a parent, trying to be obedient to Christ.

Note to self: don’t underestimate what your child is able to understand at a young age. They will surprise you every time.

I’m not saying Big J completely grasped the full meaning and significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection after one discussion, but the door had been opened for conversation. And many of these conversations have taken place since then.

Easter may be the time of year we most intently focus on the cross, but don’t let it be the ONLY time of year your kids hear about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven.

Here are a few verses I use to help the boys remember what happened at Easter, and how it saves us, year round…

*When it rains…

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me. ~Psalm 51

*When it snows…

Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool. ~Isaiah 1:18

*When taking a long trip…

As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. ~Psalm 103:12

And one of my favorites…

*When you see three trees grouped together {keep your eyes open for this!}…

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left…

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him.

“Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ~Luke 23:32-33, 39-43

The Bible is full of strong images like these that can help our children understand the power of the cross. Commit your favorites to memory and pull them out to celebrate His resurrection at Easter AND all year long!

Erin Mohring is a follower of Jesus Christ, wife of a med student and stay-at-home mom to two lively young boys. The hubby and Erin have been blissfully married for eight years. Big J is five and Little J is almost three. She’s learning quickly about the world of boys – which you can follow at Home with the Boys!