As a Christian, I wake up this morning ready to go go church and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but I can’t help but be a little puzzled as to how bunny rabbits and candy entered into the festivities.
I have four children. Yes, all of them will wake this morning to an easter basket full of candy. They will go to church this morning with all of us as we do every Sunday and learn about the resurrection and then this afternoon will have an easter egg hunt in the yard while we eat barbecue and visit with family, but I wanted to take a moment to boil all this down for everyone.
I have heard some Christians get very angry about the subject of “Easter” and vehemently say it is a “pagan holiday”. Actually, the holiday is celebrated by our Jewish friends as Passover, the weekend traditionally seen as the day they prepared to leave Egyptian slavery, the day that the death angel “passed over” the houses of the people who had obeyed God and placed the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. I don’t know of any Jewish children who have been taught anything other than this tradition. There are not any furry rodents in their history on this subject, and Jewish people have many customs involving the passover meal that are beautiful and wonderful in their meaning. I have participated in one and it was a very enlightening experience which showed me that I have more in common with my Jewish brothers and sisters than I originally thought.
Resurrection Sunday, as many Christians are calling it nowadays, is the day we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection from the tomb, the day He conquered death and hell, the day He finalized the work He did on earth. His resurrection gives us hope that we will also rise from the grave one day if we put our trust in Him as our Lord and Savior.
The truth is, bunnies, eggs and cute yellow chicks all stem from ancient Germanic pagan deities. The Teutonic deity Eostra, by which we get the name “easter” was symbolized in ancient carvings by the image of a rabbit because she was the goddess of spring and fertility and, well, we all know what rabbits do best. The easter egg is traditionally a symbol of spring and new life, but it has become a multi-million dollar boon to the candy industry each year.
With a little education (I’m a teacher after all and can’t help it) we can all decide what we celebrate today (or don’t). I will let my kids have their fun, but instruct them on the real reason we celebrate this holiday just as I do at Christmas. Whatever you do today, spend time with your family. Love them, cherish them, and give your babies kisses because the easter bunny doesn’t really exist and he can’t do it for you.