Today’s post is by a friend and fellow writer, Emily Whitten. Beyond her wit and compassion, I think she’s really cool because she writes for WORLD magazine. (I still pinch myself that she’s my friend!) Her post today is among the very best kind – the kind that challenges you and convicts you at the very same time.
As a kids’ book reviewer, I spend a lot of pleasant hours sampling picture books—looking for classics-in-the-making or forgotten gems. And inevitably, as holidays like Christmas and Easter roll around, I get asked by friends and readers to recommend gift books for their kids. It’s a really great job, and one I thoroughly enjoy. In fact, next week on my website, Redeemed Reader, we plan to recommend eight to ten such books.
But today, I’d like to take a few moments to do the unthinkable. I’d like to give you three reasons why you really don’t need me or picture-book-happy blogs like mine.
Essentially my argument boils down to this—God has already written the best Easter book we could ask for!
1. You have God’s Word.
If your family budget is like mine this year—especially tight—then you don’t need to lose sleep, wondering whether your children are being short-changed in their education. You don’t need to worry that without the latest story Bible or childrens’ biographies, your kids can’t hear from God or absorb a Christian worldview.
The Word of God is sufficient, friend. It is sufficient, with the promised help of the Holy Spirit, to save your child, to preserve him, and prepare him for every good work. As I was kindly rebuked by a friend recently, there is only one book that is a “must read”, and that is the Bible.
Open it, read it aloud with your children, day by day, in prayerful humility. If your kids are fidgety, let them color or play with play dough while they listen. And most of all, trust Him that his Word will accomplish all that He has purposed for your life and your children. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
2. You have the Book of Nature.
When you go to the kids’ section of a bookstore this time of year, tell me honestly, which grabs your kids’ attention more—the “Christian” books or the baby ducks and chicks? Unfortunately, the book world seems to tell us that these two kinds of books are in competition with one another. That spring in all its splendor—the blooming lilies and soft-eyed lambs—are secular, while Christians are only supposed to think about Jesus.
While the Easter Bunny is admittedly overblown, let’s not fall for that spurious dichotomy. Spring was invented by God. It is not just a season, but a free, 3-D object-lesson in resurrection and new birth. Those picture books bursting with green buds, yellow chicks, and pink blossoms are–like your own front yard–a tiny splinter of the glory God has written in the world around us.
And until we reach Revelation’s tree that blooms in every season, the Lord has ordained the seasons to teach us about Himself. So, buy a pack of sunflower seeds at your local garden story or just take a walk in your neighborhood. Admire God’s handiwork together with your little one, and in so doing, show them how well both of God’s books fit together. (Psalm 19)
3. You have God Himself.
A book is worth nothing without an interpreter. And that is just what the Holy Spirit is promised to be for God’s people: our Interpreter. He is the one who sanctifies His word to us. He plants the word. He gives it sunshine and rain. And He brings it to fruition, so that we may hold forth the beautiful fruit of the Spirit to a dying world, and so that we may sing back to the Lord.
Seek not merely to read God’s books with your children, but teach them to seek the Spirit’s help to see the story God is writing in their lives and all of history. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
And after all that, if you’ve a little time and money left over, by all means hop on over to our website and check out some of our favorite kids’ books. But do so knowing that the best Easter kids’ books really are free.
Emily Whitten is a blogger at Redeemed Reader and a movie and book reviewer for World Magazine. She and her husband homeschool their two young children, when she isn’t listening to indie rock on Spotify or running in order to eat more chocolate-covered espresso beans.