Are there certain songs to which you can’t help but sing along? Movie quotes that immediately take you back to childhood? I can’t buy hot dog buns without thinking of George Banks’ melt down in the grocery store in Father of the Bride. If someone starts the song “Sweet Caroline” I’m going to have to respond with, “bum bum bum.” Loudly. And for me, if I hear, “He is Risen” I will respond instinctively, “He is Risen indeed.” This Easter greeting holds years of memories for me and immediately takes me back.
I love Easter. It has always been one of my favorite holidays. I grew up in the golden age of the sunrise Easter service. I have these amazing memories of getting up before the sun and joining with people from all over our city to worship our risen Savior. There was something about watching the horizon that has really stuck with me over the years. The sunlight tangibly proclaiming victory. Death was defeated. While each year we would dress up, take pictures, and open Easter baskets, part of why I loved this early morning service was that it wasn’t about the frills. In those moments—before I worried about what I wore—I was able to really focus on the truth found in the Easter greeting—He is risen! “The Lord has risen indeed…!” (Luke 24:34, NIV)
Confession, your girl has become the queen of the photobooths at my church. It’s one of those “other duties as assigned” that I never learned about in seminary and never thought would be a part of my repertoire. And Easter is no exception. I put out multiple opportunities for families to commemorate their Sunday best. But for all the time I spend on those photo ops—it isn’t the focal point of our service. In fact, our photobooths are in the lobby because they are not the main purpose of our gathering. There is nothing wrong with getting a new dress. That’s just the window dressing.
What we celebrate at Easter is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions.
What we celebrate at Easter is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15: 17, CSB). Buddha died in fifth century BC. Muhammad died June 8, 632 AD. Ghandi died on January 30, 1948. Here is what they all have in common. Each of these main religious leaders is dead. It is vital that our girls understand the difference—it matters that we truly grasp the message proclaimed in Matthew 28:6, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said (ESV). “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…” (1 Cor. 15: 20a, NIV). He is ALIVE.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor. 15:3-5, ESV).
This is the true message of Easter.
Last year we had to worship from home in the midst of a pandemic. With doors beginning to open again we can become distracted. There can be a temptation to “do it big this year.”
Christ is risen. There is nothing bigger than that!
But the noise surrounding our girls is loud. So many other voices try to minimize the importance of what we celebrate or to distract with lesser things: the easter bunny, family brunch, pictures, easter baskets and fancy new dresses. If we aren’t careful, the truth of the gospel will take a back seat to candy and cotton.
If we aren’t careful, the truth of the gospel will take a back seat to candy and cotton.
So how do we help our girls get the bigger picture? Here are just a few practical suggestions to help your girls see it’s so much more than an Easter dress.
- Ask your girls what they are wearing for Easter. Bring candy for your small group. Plan an Easter egg hunt. But make sure your girls understand the balance. Begin your small group time together by asking them about the first time they realized the Easter story was true. Let them share!
- Moms, put something of spiritual significance in your girls Easter baskets. Write them a note affirming how you see the Gospel taking root in their lives.
- Take all the pictures—get your small group together after the service. But remember that what is praised is going to be where your girls find their value. So if we talk most about how they look—that will be where our girls direct most of their time.
- Serve one, attend one. Find a way as a family or a small group to serve at one of your church’s Easter services or outreach opportunities. Help your girls see how they can help advance the gospel in your community.
- Challenge your girls that for however many hours they spend shopping for that new dress to spend at least that amount of time preparing their hearts to celebrate Easter. (Great places to read: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 12-21, 1 Corinthians 15)
- Give to missions what you would have spent on a new dress. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a new dress. But maybe this year, spend a little less on the dress or give in conjunction with what your new outfit cost. This would be such an amazing time to talk with your daughter and/or small group about who Annie Armstrong is and find a way to donate. Every dollar donated supports thousands of missionaries in the U.S. and Canada.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Scripture quotations marked CSB have been taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Erin Edwards has been blessed to serve in girls ministry since 2007 and she has been the Girls Minister at Prestonwood North for the past 7 years. Girls Ministry either keeps her young or ages her prematurely… depending on the day it’s a bit of both. Erin’s heartbeat is for this next generation to truly know and love Jesus. She believes that when a teenage girl is able to connect her passions with her purpose in Christ there is nothing she can’t do for His glory and her good. Erin is a logophile, bibliophile and a cafeophile… which is just nerd speak for she loves words, books and coffee. (She’s also pretty sure that last word was just made up.) Erin loves to write, teach and communicate God’s Word. It always overwhelms her that the the Lord can take those passions, connect them with His purpose, and use Erin to help girls see the Truth of who He is and how He can work in and through them.
RobinE Edwards says
This is excellent. It is helpful for a parent as well as one who works with students.
Refocusing or focusing for the first time is important. He is risen!
Tim Edwards says
Superb reminder of what we celebrate at Easter. “Jesus Christ is risen indeed”The applications are challenging and practical for teen girls or for us adults.