I keep reading all these amazing blog posts about Lent and about Christ crucified this Good Friday. As usual, words kind of fail me. For the past four Lents I have been either pregnant or nursing and those things have really shaped and formed how I have experienced God's love during this time of penance. While I try to wrap my own mind around how undeserving I am of the Mercy and Love of God, I am trying to teach my little children about just how much God loves them too.
It's a lot harder that teaching them about Christmas. Madeleine "gets" birthdays. I show her baby Jesus and I tell her about His mommy Mary and His daddy Joseph and how they had him in a stable with all the animals and how we celebrate Jesus' birthday every year because he grew up to save us on the cross. She didn't quite get why the cross part was so important but she did get that birthdays are exciting and that we really love Jesus a lot.
So I struggled this year with how to teach my sensitive little toddler about how Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead on Easter. I didn't want Easter to be about a stupid bunny and a bunch of candy, I wanted it to be about God.
Of course, God does much better work than I do. Through the help of her Auntie Hannah giving her a crucifix to wear around her neck and her own God-given desire to learn more about Jesus, she developed a special interest in "Jesus on the cross" this Lent. She learned to love and venerate Him. She pulled the "Jesus books" out of the giants stacks of books we have at home to bring to me to read and she would earnestly ask questions about Him.
Yesterday I sat her down with a book and pointed to a picture of the crucifix. I asked her who that was.
"Jesus on the cross." she replied.
I asked her if she knew that Jesus got very, very hurt on the cross.
"Jesus got hurt on the cross?" she asked me. She looked so concerned.
I explained to her that Jesus got very hurt on the cross but that he did it for us because he loves us. I told her how after he got hurt on the cross He went to sleep for three days. We counted to three. Then I asked her if she knew what happened after Jesus went to sleep.
"Jesus woke up?"
He did. Jesus woke up on Easter and we all celebrated because that meant we could be his friends forever in heaven.
"We are friends forever!"
Yes Madeleine. And that's why Easter is such a special day.
It's so exciting to watch my toddler grow in love with Jesus and to have her be able to celebrate the TRUE meaning of Easter. There is no need for the crazy commercialism and what not. That's like dumping a pile of salt on a cheesecake. It just doesn't make sense. I want my daughter to be able to enjoy the richness God has for her, the joy of the Resurrection. We look forward to Easter because we want to partake in the banquet of heaven, not a package of Peeps and a Cadbury Egg. Those things can help us celebrate God (I plan to give Madeleine and Juliette gifts on Easter in celebration of the Resurrection) but far too often they become the celebration themselves.
I guess having kids has brought me back to the basics. I want to always have that same awe my daughter expressed of the mysteries of Holy Week. Each year I want it to astound me that Christ chose to die on a cross and rise for me and I want to celebrate with all my heart that it means that I can someday be with him forever in heaven, just like a child.