At the risk of bringing out the Harry Potter haters who think the books are the devil, I am going to tell you how HP helped my boys understand Good Friday. If this sentence has already made you angry, it's best you just quit reading. ;)
The boys and I listen to Harry Potter on CD while in the car. We are on the last book and almost to the last disc. It has been an incredible journey, reliving the magic through their eyes. It has also helped teach them some Latin root words. But I digress. What I want to tell you is how it related to Good Friday.
*****If you have not read the books and don't want to know the ending, then quit reading now.*****
As we pulled into the parking lot for our church's Good Friday Tenebrae service, Harry started through the woods and presented himself to Voldemort. He stood before the Dark Lord, prepared to sacrifice himself, his life and his pride, to hopefully save his friends. They could never defeat Voldemort so long as Harry remained alive. He wished for another way, considered running back to the castle and safety. He didn't run though. He knew what Dumbledore told Snape was true, Harry would have to die. Part of the Dark Lord was alive in him, and that part had to be sacrificed.
When I parked the car, I asked the boys if they understood what Harry was doing. They were a bit confused. They love Harry. He's a hero to them, and heroes don't die. Right?
I told them that Jesus had to die as well. Just as the Dark Lord's spirit was on Harry, sin is on us. Jesus took that sin onto himself and sacrificed his life to save ours. Without his death on Good Friday, there would be no way for us to defeat this world's dark lord.
I can't wait for the next part of the story, when my kids get a glimpse of how the resurrection must have felt to Jesus' disciples... for their dead hero to live again.