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Helping children grasp the powerful truths behind the facts of the Resurrection can be difficult. I want them to know that Jesus died and rose again after three days – but I also want them to understand what the Resurrection means for everyday life.
So, last Easter my family made a special New Life Tree as a way to teach them about our new life in Christ. Basically, this is the biblical principle of regeneration or new birth.
My boys were three when we made our tree and talked about our new life in Christ. So, I didn’t use the actual word “regeneration” with them – although I think I’ll debut that this year. However, I did try to emphasize the result of regeneration – the gift of a new heart.
As we worked on the tree, I tried to be intentional about guiding our conversation. I stuck to three basic truths:
TRUTH 1: Death Precedes New Life.
First, the boys and I found a branch that was dead and brittle.
I asked them to describe the tree branch for me. They agreed that the trees seemed dead. No pink or white flowers, no lush green leaves, no buds or fruit. They only saw crackly, colorless branches.
I told them that each winter, the trees ‘die’ – their leaves fall off and they no longer produce any fruit or greenery.
TRUTH 2: Christ’s Death Brings us New Life.
But with spring comes new life. Where we live in western PA, spring comes to life before our eyes and makes this truth an easy object lesson.
It makes it easy to ask them: ‘Where do the new leaves come from? Do the trees find leaves on the ground and superglue them back on?’ No, that’s silly, we agreed.
I explained that warmer weather and spring rains help to nourish the roots of the tree – where new life flourishes for the tree. The roots are the key. Because we had already observed that a dead tree is flowerless and fruitless, they easily grasped that something had to happen inside that tree to bring change. And once the change occurs, the tree is beautiful once again.
As we discussed all this, we colored these lovely printable eggs from SundaySchoolKids.com. Because they know that the plastic eggs you see in the stores are empty, I asked them what came to mind when they saw them. And they yelled: “the empty tomb!” But I wanted them to know that real eggs contain something inside – new life!
I pointed out that many of the eggs they colored had crosses on them. They already know that the cross represented Jesus’ death, but I wanted to them to see that the cross is also representative of new life. But you could decorate your tree with any homemade decoration.
TRUTH 3: New Life is a New Heart.
We celebrate the Resurrection because it is through Jesus’ victory over death that we find new life. And because the boys are not trees, new life for them looks a little different.
We observed that Zach and Jonah are boys, so they don’t have branches, but arms. They don’t wear suits of leaves that fall off every winter and grow back every spring. For us, new life is about a new heart. God changes us from the inside out (like the tree) by changing our hearts (Ezek. 36:26).
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stoneand give you a heart of flesh.” Ezek. 36:26
The Spirit of God works in our new heart to help us:
- love God and
- love others.
Christ’s Resurrection means we receive a new heart – a better heart – that helps us obey (love God and love others)
For older kids try looking up or adding these Bible verses to your New Life Tree:
- Eph. 2:4-5 – “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”
- Ezek. 36:26 – “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
- Ps. 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
- 2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
I love how my friend Christina from To Show them Jesus decorated her Resurrection Tree. She includes 30 ornaments that coincide with daily Bible readings. Check it out for some wonderful inspiration.
Do you make a Resurrection Tree or a New Life Tree to help your children celebrate Christ’s resurrection? How do you decorate your tree?
Today, I’m linking up with: