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An Easter Object Lesson for April Fool's Day

Donald Hinchey

laugharTake 5 minutes to help children see the Easter connection in April Fool's Day.

An unusual Easter object lesson is as close as your local variety or party supply store. Use practical joke props to show kids the victory God won over Satan when Jesus rose from the dead. This children's talk works best on the Sunday closest to April 1-April Fool's Day.

FOOLED AGAIN!
*Bible Basis-"But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.' "-Matthew 28:5-6.

*Supplies-You'll need several practical joke props, such as a squirting flower or a "hand buzzer" that gives a "buzz" when shaking hands. (Any practical joke that is in good taste and that will not inflict pain is appropriate.) You'll also need gold cross stickers in a brown paper bag.

*The Talk-When the children have assembled, ask: "What day is April 1 on? What happens on April 1?"

After kids answer, say, "Someone may walk up to you and say, "Hi, good buddy, put it there!' "

Grab a child's hand and give him or her a "buzz" with your hand buzzer.

Shout, "April fool!"

Say: "Or if it's April 1 and someone walks up to you and says, "Hello, would you like to smell my flower?' you'd better watch it...(Give a little squirt of water)...you could get a little wet!"

Shout, "April fool!"

Say: "These are called 'practical jokes,' because they're not meant to hurt anybody. And people laugh when a joke is played on them. On April 1 it's considered fun to play harmless, practical jokes on people. It's a reminder that we all need to laugh at ourselves. We play a little trick and then we say, 'April fool!'

At this time of year we remember that God played an April fool's joke too. It's called Easter. That was when God played a trick on the devil."

Read aloud Matthew 28:5-6.

Then say: "The devil thought he'd won when Jesus was crucified. The devil must've laughed when Joseph of Arimathaea took Jesus' body off the cross and put it in a grave. The devil must've laughed when the disciples were weeping and when the women came to anoint Jesus' body.

But then the angel rolled the stone away and I wonder if the angel said, 'April fool!' (Get kids to say 'April fool!' with you.)
And when the women looked into the tomb, maybe they heard
'April fool!' (Get kids to say 'April fool!' with you.)

"The real joke was on the devil. God raised Jesus from the dead and we will never have to fear death or the devil again. Easter is a wonderful and very practical joke on the devil! April fool! Christ is risen!"

Show kids the brown paper bag with the gold crosses in it.

Say: "I have a surprise in this bag for you. Who would like to put their hand in and pull it out?"

Some kids may express reluctance; they'll think it's an April fool trick! If so, say: "Okay, I'll get it myself. It's a gold cross sticker you can wear on April Fools' Day. And if anyone asks you, you can explain God's great April fool's trick to them-he raised Jesus from the dead!"

Let each child draw a gold cross sticker out of the paper bag.

Excerpted from the book 5-Minute Messages for Children (Group.com). Don Hinchey is a pastor in Colorado.

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