The Easter story: the creative potential of harm

My friend, Dennis Manning, and I had a conversation on Monday evening about how to tell the Easter story to children. It is tempting to leap right over the hard stuff and land directly on hallelujahs, the Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs. How do you tell kids that Jesus died?

But the hallelujahs without the hard stuff is only half the story.

The Easter story touches so many people so deeply because it inspires us to wait for glory after grief. In our darkest hour it gives us hope that we will overcome our shadows. We have to find a way to tell kids that the good guy finished last, and that out of harm we are growing new good. 

Our conversation put me in mind of one of Dennis’s poems: “Why the North Wind Blows.” His beautiful poem reminds me that, when the North Wind blows it doesn’t mean harm; it is just being true to its nature. When a tree—beautiful and perfect and majestic—falls under the force of the wind, it remains beautiful and perfect and majestic but in an adventurous new way.

If you celebrate Easter this year, or if there is a North Wind blowing over trees in your life, wait for signs of the good growing out of the harm.

Why the North Wind Blows

© 2012 Dennis Manning

I once saw a tree blown over by a strong North

But amazingly it did not stop . . .

On its side, some of the branches became roots,
and some of the roots became branches.

Each taking strange,
and beautiful paths . . .

Still growing.

Double rooted, double branched,
the tree grew like no other.
Twice as grounded.
Twice as adventurous.

In the position the tree grew,
with branch-roots here
and root-branches there.
Expansion and exploration everywhere.
It was a much easier tree for anyone to climb and
play in . . .

And so they did.

As the wind-blown tree realized it was a playground
for children of all ages,
it filled with pride,
and an inner beauty that had no choice but to
expose itself to the world.

As such, all its branches,
branch-roots and root-branches,
soared and bloomed above and below the other
trees of the forest.

And so to this day,
with excitement,
uncertainty and joy,
all the trees of the forest await the North Wind,
and all the power,
and creative potential that it brings.

© 2012 Dennis Manning

7 thoughts on “The Easter story: the creative potential of harm

  1. Karen

    Hi Arlene,
    Last week the kindergartens read the Easter story. During lent we have been filling a ‘kindness bucket’ ( from the story ‘ How full is your bucket – for kids’ by Tom Rath). The children write the names of people we see being kind on a piece of paper and place it in the bucket. We are getting ready for Easter by noticing and making visible kind hearts doing kind deeds. In reading the Easter story we had a lot of questions about how such a sad thing could happen to Jesus and how others could be so unkind. We talked about how sometimes we empty others buckets through fear and not feeling loved. The children noticed how Jesus tried to be kind all along the way. Some people didn’t notice, but He did it anyway. The kindergartens were happy that Jesus got to be alive again, even if they didn’t understand it all. They got the important message about love, the sharing of it and that it doesn’t die.


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