Suddenly two men dressed in white clothes were standing there beside them. They said, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky? Jesus has been taken to heaven. But he will come back in the same way that you have seen him go.” CEV Acts 1:10b-11
As far as celebrations go, Ascension Day is the wallflower of all Christian celebrations. It’s probably the oddest celebration of the Christian story—Jesus bodily ascending to heaven.
It’s a holy day like Easter and Christmas, and yet it remains mostly forgotten. I think part of the lack of interest in Ascension Day is because we hardly know what to make of it. Why would we—people who want to follow Jesus, people who seek God’s presence—want to mark a day when Jesus left this world, a day marking his absence?
We teach our children about these other holy days, so what can we say to our kids about Ascension Day?
1. Talk about God’s plan in creating and saving the world. God planned to welcome us fully as his children. Jesus came to earth and was 100% human, and now in heaven Jesus sits on the throne as King.
Ask your children, “How does Jesus bring us into God’s family?”
2. Talk about how Jesus is our King. Paul in Romans 8 wrote, “Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side, speaking to him for us.” It’s an image of reigning. His ascension and being seated describe Jesus as the King, and from that throne, he pours out his blessings.
Ask your children, “What can you pray for that will help you serve God and build your faith?”
3. Talk about what we do now. Jesus’ ascension sent the church on its mission to make disciples of all nations and teach everything that Jesus said. And so we stop “looking up into the sky” and turn to face our hurt and anxious world. One of the church’s great leaders, Teresa of Avila, understood how Christians are called to be the body of Christ on earth when she said, “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks on the world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.”
Ask your children, “How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus?”
Let’s be who we are—the living presence of the ascended Lord Jesus.
A thank you to Rev. Phil Reinders for sharing his notes.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Your Family's Great Commission