By: Rev. Steve Lee
As we approach Easter, or what I refer to as Resurrection Sunday, it might appear as if the whole world is celebrating Jesus Resurrection as well! Go into grocery stores and you will see Easter Eggs and candy. Go to the retail shopping outlets and you see Easter Bunnies and Easter sales. In some schools, there is the Easter Egg hunt, with pretty baskets stuffed with decorated eggs. Then the question must be asked, how are the eggs and bunnies a celebration of Easter?
The answer is not so simple! The idea of eggs being shared go back the 12th and 13th centuries. In Europe, eggs were given to others as gifts. This tradition of giving eggs was appropriated by the Christian faithful, once the fasting ended (practice of Lent) eggs were shared and eaten with friends and family within the community. European believers saw the egg as a symbol of Jesus rising out of death and being “re-born/Resurrected.” And in the 16th century, Germans started to use the image of Rabbits as the deliverer of the Easter egg, as fasting ended on Resurrection Sunday, it was told to children that the bunny came to deliver the eggs.
Yes, it is silly to think that a bunny came to drop off the eggs, and that eggs are symbols of the Resurrected Jesus. Evangelical Christians can discuss the merits of these ideas with fellow believers. But to the non-believing world, they don’t care nor do they wonder about the appropriateness of the egg or bunny and what it stands for! So may I suggest, instead of avoiding the non-Christians, engage them at the egg hunts and the Easter celebrations with the message of Jesus. Polls have shown that American’s believe that Easter to be a religious holiday. So how about having a conversation that asks the non-Christians, at the egg hunt or the Easter Bunny photo shoot; “have you ever wondered about the Easter egg?” The answer, “Jesus died for our sins and came back from death, so that Eternal Life in heaven can be had, no matter who you are or what you have done!”
So take time to talk about the meaning of Easter instead of quibbling about the merits of the egg and bunny!