For nominal or devout Christians, Easter is the most significant holiday of the year.
Some people prepare by sacrificing food, electronics or soft drinks during the season of Lent. These actions may sound trivial, but they point to the energy we spend trying to honor the One who created the most miraculous event in human history.
It is the event that turned the world upside down — but one that many people today, particularly millennials, struggle to believe.
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It’s easy to see why they take that stance. We parents have gotten our children to Mass or to church, have told them Bible stories and have taught them prayers, but we have fallen short on impressing upon them the truth of Easter.
We haven’t taught them apologetics and the historical evidence that Jesus was not just a good, smart guy — He was God. Instead, we have focused on communicating our personal experiences; and for our children who are trying to choose or reject God, these aren’t enough. They want to know how we know that Easter really occurred.
So, we must tell them. Hundreds of scholars have found evidence that Christ did indeed live and that He died by crucifixion. But then the serious questions begin. Did He really rise from the dead? And if so, what difference did and does that make?
And if He rose from the dead, was God just showing the Jews that He could perform miracles — or was something else going on?
We Christians believe God Himself was on the cross. People of other faiths believe Jesus was not God but a good prophet who taught humans many good life lessons.
That’s the dividing issue for Christians, Jews, Muslims and those of other Eastern religions. There is good biblical evidence that Jesus was in fact God — but that is a longer discussion.
It is, however, one that every Christian parent must delve into because our children will need to know.
That’s what millennials are telling us. If we can’t defend our faith, we can’t blame them for being skeptical or walking away.
Rather than give lip service to Easter, let’s dig deeper so that we can articulate the external, not just personal, truth of it. If we can’t describe why we believe that Jesus was God Himself, we may not really believe it ourselves.
Faith that centers on feelings is pretty superficial. We see that all around us. Many Christians (particularly evangelical) are quick to talk about Jesus, relay their personal transformation, and hope that others believe. The problem is that many of those same people walk away and act like jerks.
That’s one more reason millennials are skeptical. If we Christians really believe Easter is the lynchpin of our faith, shouldn’t our behavior show it?
This Easter, I implore professing Christians to do some soul-searching. Rather than give lip service to Easter, let us dig deeper so that we can articulate the external, not just personal, truth of it. If we can’t describe why we believe that Jesus was God Himself, we may not really believe it ourselves.
If our faith is simply an “experience,” then we can be talked out of it pretty quickly. I submit that if we don’t really believe that Christ was God Himself, that He rose from the dead to illuminate to every human what real, profound love is, then we might as well skip Easter.
Or, at least be honest enough to eat colored malted milk balls, chickadee peeps, and call it a nice family day.
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Don’t miss what is really happening here. There is a plethora of historical and biblical evidence that Jesus lived, was crucified, and rose from the dead — and that He was God.
If we can aptly communicate this to our children, they might ask another question: Who cares?
That is where Easter comes in. We care not only because we want to live with truth, but because there is no more life-changing or significant truth to all humans.
This is what our kids must know.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for 30 years. She is the author of the online course “The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids,” which is part of The Strong Parent Project.