It was early Sunday morning and three women walked silently toward the tomb where Jesus' friends had placed His body. Their faces were sad. Their hearts were sad. Their beloved Jesus was dead.
Mary thought back to the day when Jesus had been crucified. She knew she would never forget the pain she felt in her heart as they watched the dear Son of God die on a cross. Even now the tears trickled down her face as she remembered it.
This morning she and Salome and the other Mary had come bringing sweet-smelling spices to put on the body of Jesus. There had been no time to do this on the day that He had died. As they walked toward the tomb, Mary suddenly remembered that soldiers had placed a huge stone in front of the tomb. How would they be able to move it? The stone was so big that even the three of them together would not be strong enough. Perhaps there would be some men around who would help them.
They were near the tomb when Mary stopped in surprise. "Look, Mary, Salome! The stone has already been rolled away," she said in amazement. It was true. The big stone had been moved over to one side and the tomb was open. Who had done this? Quickly the three women hurried to the entrance and looked inside.
They saw in a moment that the body of Jesus was no longer there. Instead, a young man in a white robe was sitting where Jesus' body had been laid. It was an angel! Mary and her two friends backed away from him in fear.
But the angel spoke in a gentle voice. "Don't be afraid," he told them. "You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified." Then he went on to tell them the most startling news. "He is not here, He is risen!"
The three women looked at each other in amazement. Risen? That meant that Jesus was no longer dead. Could such a wonderful thing really be true?
The angel went on with his message. "Go now and tell His disciples and Peter that He is alive and they will see Him in Galilee." Mary and the other women quickly obeyed the angel. Their hearts pounded as they hurried away from the tomb.
The announcement the angel made that morning to Mary and her two friends was true. Jesus had risen, just as He had said He would. On that very day He showed Himself to His close friends and helpers. What a special and wonderful day that was for them! But it was a special day for us too. Because Jesus died and rose again, we can live with Him in Heaven someday.
You cannot ignore the commercial trappings that surround us at the Easter season. Even if you don't encourage the Easter bunny myth at your house, your child will hear it from others.
Talk about the symbols of Easter and what they mean. Explain that the signs of new life we see in the spring—flowers, bunnies, chicks, eggs, even new clothes—all remind us of the new life God gave Jesus when He rose from the dead, and the new life that is given to each one who opens his heart to Jesus.
For a special Easter egg hunt, tape small strips of paper on each egg before it is hidden. On the strips write some happy task the finder must do. Here are some suggestions: learn a Bible verse, sing a song about Jesus, give Mom or Dad a hug, say the thank-you prayer at dinner, do something nice for someone.