Easter Truths for Kids (Regeneration)

I want my kids to revel in new life.

I don’t want them to hold fast to the life-squashing lie that Christianity is about going to church or following a bunch of rules.

I long for this particularly because I tend to be a rule-follower. And because my parenting goals reflect my own flawed personality, I can easily spend the majority of my day explaining and enforcing house rules. It is easy to forget to teach my kids about the help God provides for us – help that enables us to keep his rules as a measure of our trust in His goodness.

The lie that Christianity is simply about rules is a grievous and gross misunderstanding of not only who God is, but what the gospel is.

So, this week the kids and I talked a lot about new life – what it is and where it comes from (basically the biblical principle of ‘regeneration’ or new birth). I didn’t use the word ‘regeneration’ with the boys (they’re three-years-old and frankly we’re still working on the word resurrection), but I did try to emphasize the result of regeneration – a new heart.

Because a tree provides a very tangible illustration of new life, the boys and I created a “New Life Tree.” As we worked on the tree, I tried to be intentional about guiding our conversation. I tried to stick to three basic truths:

TRUTH 1: Death Precedes New Life.

When Zach brought a dead tree limb in the house this week, I snatched it up to save for our project. It was perfect – dead and brittle.

First, I asked the boys to describe the tree branch for me, and their observations were spot on. 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. In the past few weeks, the boys and I have watched our backyard trees explode with lovely flowers and leaves.

How does this change happen? I asked 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 to the boys 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, the twins 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 eggs from SundaySchoolKids.com. We’ve been playing with eggs all week, and so when I asked them what came to mind when they saw eggs, they yelled: “the empty tomb!”  But I wanted them to know that real eggs contain something inside – new life! For that reason, we decorated our tree with their colorful paper eggs, because they were symbols of 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.

TRUTH 3: New Life is a New Heart.

Easter is not just the celebration of an event – the arrival of spring or even simply the death and resurrection of Christ. Easter is about the gift of new life available to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.

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).

The Spirit of God works in our new heart to help us:

  • love God and
  • love others.

Christianity is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s about receiving a new heart – a better heart – that helps us obey (love God and love others)

Oh, how I pray I can adequately explain to my children the meaning of the cross and the power it provides for daily life.  Even if we ascribe to the facts of Easter, we still need help applying it each and every day. We need to be changed from the inside out; we need new life!

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.”

How do you teach your kids about the power and meaning of new life? Please share your ideas!

I adapted this lesson from my post on New Birth. For Easter Truths for Kids (Penal Substitution and Imputation) click here. For Easter Truths for Kids (The Resurrection) click here.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

2 Cor. 5:17

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of HiveResources.com - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.