Teaching Our Children About Holy Week — Introduction to Palm Sunday

Now that our son Rowen is two years old, Chelsea and I are beginning to introduce him to the elements of a regular church worship service that occur with regularity each year. True, one can only make a preliminary impression on a youngster with respect to helping him or her understand the rituals we as adults have grown up with, all of our lives. The occasion of Palm Sunday gives us a chance to help Rowen know that on Palm Sunday, we are going to be seeing everyone we know waving a large palm frond as we come into the church.

As Sunday School classes make their way into the main church building, teachers and volunteers will hand them a palm frond or two. Excitedly, they will line up, wearing little pressed shirts and blouses and bright, happy smiles, thrilled to be doing something that the adults are doing.

In preparing for this event, we explain to Rowen that this is the week where Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He knew what this week would mean as the end of His life here on this Earth. Then, we tell him that this week we celebrate each year as “Holy Week,” the week in which it would mean that God would take his Son, Jesus, to be with Him in Heaven. When we do that, it means that, at least to our little man at age 2, we will all be together again in Heaven.

This fact of reassurance is extremely important to both Chelsea and me, because it was the very afternoon of the morning that we had a memorial service for my grandmother, Dian Jones, that I went to the hospital so the doctor could deliver Rowen that same day. In this most poignant example of the precious circle of life, the celebration of a new life ahead of us—our life with Owen—was made possible on the very same day that we had to acknowledge the passing of my dear grandmother.

As adults it is easy to forget when and how we first begin to understand and look forward to the hope of everlasting life beyond this Earth. Yet, in fact, it is when, as children, we begin to greet the beginning of Holy Week and the onset of Easter and life together again with God in Heaven that we have hope for every day of our lives ahead on this Earth.

So, as you have a chance to see the faces of the little cherubs holding their oversized palm fronds, waving them and smiling at you, keep in mind that you are seeing one of the very first steps toward their being Christians.

With your help, prayers, and encouragement, they will become amazing adults of faith in years to come. Help them shout and sing, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest!”

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