Easter is the most important event in the Christian calendar. In fact, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith; if Easter did not occur, Christianity would not exist. There is no question that Easter is relevant every year. However, with COVID-19 present on everyone’s mind in 2020, the message of Easter feels more relevant than ever.
Your teen may be experiencing anxiety or worry as they are bombarded by bleak news on the TV and social media. Foil-covered chocolate bunnies untouched in otherwise empty supermarket shelves suggest that for many families, this Easter will be on the austere side. Yet, there is an opportunity to be taken. Self- or government-imposed social distancing could provide time for reflection not afforded in an otherwise busy family schedule. With life operating at a slower pace, parents may be able to tune in more closely to their child’s emotions, and conversations about their concerns can lead to strengthened relationships and spiritual awareness.
Begin where your teenager is:
Ask how your child is feeling. If they are anxious about the state of the world, affirm that this is a natural human reaction. Jesus was also fully God, but in his humanity experienced anguish so great before his crucifixion that ‘his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground’ (Luke 22:44). If your teen is alarmed by reports of stockpiling, encourage them with Jesus’ words to his disciples: ‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat… consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!’ (Luke 12:23-24).
Read the story of Easter together:
As the mornings grow colder, and especially if family members are no longer racing to get ready for school and work, you might find a wonderful new tradition begins by curling up in bed together and reading the Bible at the beginning of the day. (Chances are your teenager will not refuse this if a steaming mug of hot chocolate is also on offer!) You can read any or all of the Gospel accounts: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-20. Allow your child to ask questions, and its ok not to have all the answers. You might be surprised how a deep discussion is ignited by questions.
Point to the great hope of the Resurrection:
When the women went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint him, they were met by an angel who told them: ‘Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here’ (Mark 16:6). After forty more days on Earth, Jesus ascended to Heaven and left his disciples with this promise: ‘Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20). The Christian has great hope that we worship a God who is alive and one day will return for his people. Your teen is observing a world that appears to be putting their faith in stores of toilet paper; however, we can choose to instead put our faith in Jesus who conquered death and brings the hope of salvation!
Jesus said that those who believe in his death and resurrection will be blessed (John 21:29). He also told his disciples: ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 17:33). In an obstreperous world, the hope-filled message of Easter – God the Father sending God the Son to die in our place and rise again in glory – shines brightly and is perpetually relevant to teenagers and adults alike.
May your family be blessed this Easter.
Oscar Cañas – Secondary Physical Education Teacher