Twenty eight years ago I was a young mother with just one little toddler running around the house. I wanted to be sure my little guy learned, from an early age, all about Jesus. And, of course, the Easter season seemed the perfect time to teach him about how Jesus had died for us and then risen to life again three days later. It was a concept that I figured a two-year-old would at least partially understand if I explained it well.
We had talked about Easter for many days, I had Paul’s cute little Easter outfit ready, and he was playing in the bathtub on Easter morning as I “fixed my face”. Paul loved his tub time so as he played I finished getting ready to leave and then returned to the bathroom to get him out of the tub and dressed. (Yes, I realize now that it’s a bad idea to leave your child in the tub unattended, but he lived.) As I returned to the bathroom I said “Paul, it’s time to get dressed for church. We are going to celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead!” Instantly, my sweet, happy, little two-year-old started screaming hysterically. It wasn’t because he wanted to stay in the tub and play longer; he was clearly petrified by my announcement.
It occurred to me in that instant that his little mind was picturing something like “dead man walking!” Hmmm….perhaps I should have worded my announcement differently. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a slippery, screaming toddler out of a tub when he is cowering as far away as he can? I had to sit down and calmly explain to him that no, Jesus would not actually be at church in His body, but that His spirit would be there (which I’m sure I explained in a non-scary way) and that we were going to celebrate how he rose from the dead 2000 years ago and was now in heaven.
We somehow got Paul to church that day. I don’t remember all the details but there might have been some jelly bean bribing going on. And today, thankfully, he still celebrates Christ’s resurrection.
Enjoy your Easter celebration, but if you have small children, be careful with your words!