Just so you know. I was asked no less than three times yesterday if I had taken the boys to see the Easter Bunny yet. There are several reasons why I have not and will not do so, not the least of which are:
1. I have an immunodeficient infant who is taken into public sparingly during cold/flu season, and certainly not to a shopping mall to sit on the same grimey lap of a costumed character that has held hundreds of snotty nosed kids of late;
2. The sight of a gigantic anthropomorphic rabbit would probably scare the wits out of at least one of my children (not saying who...); but most importantly,
3. Easter isn't about the Easter Bunny!
Now, I don't think the Easter Bunny is evil or anything. And I don't judge others for introducing it to their children; its just not for us. For Christians, Easter is the holiest of all our religious holidays. The Easter Bunny is a mere symbol of the commercialization of what should be a strictly religious holiday. And well... in my estimation, the Easter Bunny is just kind of cheesy. In my view of how we should celebrate Christ's dying and rising again, mixing Christ and the Easter Bunny together just don't seem to mesh.
I'm not a complete party-pooper though, as we still give our children Easter baskets filled with all the normal ecoutrements of candy and toys. We just tell them that it is from mommy and daddy - a gift to celebrate God's gift to us!
(And in case you were wondering, I don't have similar misgivings about Santa Claus).
This year, however, things have become a little complicated. And now I face the challenge of how to explain the amazing complexity of Jesus' death and rising to my four year old. Carter was first introduced to the concept of death from a book on Safari animals given to him by his grandmother while I was in the hospital last spring on bedrest. It depicted a scene where several lions are feasting on the body of a dead zebra. He was disturbed yet fascinated with this scene and for weeks would continually come back to it and stare and ask me profound questions like "But why mom?" I do not think, though, that he had made the connection that if animals can die, so can people. Until recently that is, when I tried to explain to him the whole concept of the resurrection.
But that opens a whole big can of worms and I find myself trying to explain concepts that are difficult for even adults to grasp.
"Where is Jesus now mom? I can't see him?"
"If Jesus lives in my heart, how can he live in your heart too?"
"Where is heaven, mom? I can't see it." (I don't dare try to explain the concept of hell yet)
"How come when I prayed to Jesus and asked for the toy I wanted, I didn't get it?"
I give him the simplest explanations I can think of to his inquiries, and forgivingly, his preschooler mind moves on. For a few minutes at least, until he returns to the topic declaring:
"Let's be like the Incredibles mom. Bennett can change into a lion, then a bug, then snake. And you and daddy and me can wham bam and beat those mean people who hurt Jesus!"
So, we've traded the Easter bunny for super heros! I'll take that. And I'll take any tips you've got for explaining the metaphysical complexities of Christianity to my four year old!