Parents, here are four reasons to take your kids to an Easter sunrise service this coming Sunday.
(1) It marks Easter morning as different. I grew up going with my parents and brothers to Easter sunrise services on a hill in north central Maine. Those experiences are vividly etched in my memory. When else would we get up before dawn and gather, shivering on a hilltop with 20-30 other people? Um, never. Easter morning was different. And it should be experienced as different from every other day in the year by our kids! It’s the high point of our lives as believers in our resurrected Lord.
(2) It helps our kids imagine the events of the first Easter. We’re all embodied creatures. And there’s something about dragging your body out of bed early, while it’s still dark, and heading to the sunrise service in the pre-dawn hours, that gets you a little closer to the experience of the first disciples, who came to the tomb ‘while it was still dark’ (John 20.1). You hear the birds twittering, you see the sun rising. Our church meets for our sunrise service in a graveyard – and what a powerful visual aid, to look around at all those graves, imagine Jesus coming out of his tomb, and realize that the enormous power unleashed by Jesus’ resurrection will result in the resurrection to eternal life of all who trust in him. Doing something so out of the norm captures the imaginations of kids.
(3) It’s fun for kids. Of course it’s not fun initially, when you’re dragged out of bed by your parents. But once you’re up, and driving to a place you don’t normally go, and seeing people you don’t normally see at 6am, and singing songs as the sun rises, it’s fun. I loved the sunrise services when I was a little kid. Easter should be fun.
(4) It makes Easter even more of a family celebration. Hopefully, your church has breakfast together after your sunrise service. Families eat together, and on the highest day of the Christian calendar, it is good for the Christian family to begin the day by eating together. Each year, as our church family trundles over to the church after the service, and kids run around, and breakfast casseroles are consumed, it feels like a family celebration.
So, give it a try this year. Set the alarm, and explain to your kids why you’ll all rise early this Easter. They’ll remember it the rest of their lives.
Our PCF sunrise service is at 6am at the Park Street cemetery, followed by a breakfast afterward at the church. I hope to see you there – with your kids!