Under a shaded canopy with friends, parents, grandparents, church groups—and even a live lamb and baby goat—160 children sat at tables draped with pastel-colored table cloths adorned with spring-themed centerpieces. They mingled and giggled as they assembled crafts and enjoyed marshmallow treats with sprinkles.
They even participated in an interactive story time by pretending to wave palm branches while shouting: “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!”
While this sounds like a Sunday school class on steroids, it was the scene of Saturday’s sold out third annual Easter Celebration at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.
Some came from just a couple of miles away. One set of siblings came from Indiana and made this event part of their spring break visit to their grandparents’ house.
Many of the kids and their families toured the Library after the celebration and heard the Gospel message reiterated through multimedia presentations and exhibits.
As for most parents who brought their children, Stacey McClain just wanted to do something to introduce her two girls—Jala, 8, and Najae, 6—to the real meaning of Easter.
When asked what she learned from the celebration, Jala’s answer made it obvious that she heard the most important thing she will ever hear: “Today, I learned that Jesus can come live inside of our hearts and erase the bad stuff.”
Elizabeth Puckett has volunteered with her husband at the Library since it opened nearly seven years ago. She sat on stage in a rocking chair and read God Loves You More Than That and The Easter Story to the children and had them participate in the story.
But she had far more than entertainment in mind. She wanted them to know the truth that changed her life at five years old.
“I love children and I love Jesus. When I was five years old, someone told me that Jesus loves me and I never forgot it. It changed my life. He has never left me nor forsaken me,” she explained.
“I have been a counselor for Billy Graham Crusades and have a heart for everyone to know [Jesus]. To be a part of this ‘Ongoing Crusade’ for children is an awesome opportunity.”
Easter Celebration is just the beginning of opportunities for parents and grandparents to engage their children with the Gospel through the Billy Graham Library.
“To hear the voices of these children chattering throughout the Library is just amazing,” said Tom Phillips, Vice President of the Billy Graham Library. “To think that we can engage them with the truth of the Gospel under this tent and then have many of them go inside and tour the Library is really following in Jesus’ footsteps.
“He said, ‘Let the children come to me.’ And I feel like that’s exactly what we are facilitating through these children’s events—we get them here, but the cross at the door [of the Library] beckons them.”
This Easter Celebration is just one of several chances for kids to participate in what God is doing through the Billy Graham Library. Next month, children are invited to Share God’s Love Day after the Mother’s Day Breakfast and Tour. In June, fathers can experience the Journey of Faith with their kids at Doughnuts With Dad. Check the Library website for a more extensive list of events.