By: Cindy Lumpkin
April 01, 2012
As a little girl I looked forward to the month of April for three reasons: spring break, a new white dress for Easter Sunday, and the Easter Egg Hunt that followed church service. Don’t judge me…I was a product of tradition. To a child, April can be the absolute best part of Spring with the flurry of activities. I looked forward to egg hunts, Easter baskets, yellow marshmallow chickens, egg coloring chocolate treats galore and, lest we forget, the visit from the famous Easter Bunny. Yes, for me the highlight of Easter was the hopping, happy Easter Bunny. I even took pictures with him to celebrate.
I have not celebrated the “Easter” I knew as a child in many years. Now, I recognize Resurrection Sunday as the day Jesus rose from the grave, holding all power of life and death in his hands. As a Born Again believer, I have since come into the knowledge that Easter marks the glorious and triumphant day of our dear Jesus Christ’s resurrection. As a first time parent, I have asked what does the hopping, happy Easter Bunny I admired so much as a child have to do with Easter? Good, well-meaning Christian families have been taking part in the tradition for decades, even though our friend, the bunny, has precious little to do with Resurrection Sunday. It’s supposed to be the holiday that we recognize Jesus’ victory over death, that He holds the key to eternal life, and that He was and is the long awaited Messiah. Unfortunately, like other Christian celebrations The Resurrection has been over shadowed by secular holiday images like the Easter Bunny, his eggs, chickens and candy.
Many parents would be surprised to know where the bunny and the eggs associated with Easter really originated. According to ChristianAnswers.Net, “Easter” is rooted in paganism. The Easter bunny symbolizes the goddess Astarte (Easter). The egg was sacred to the ancient Babylonians. They believed that a huge egg fell from the heavens into the Euphrates River. According to the fable, the goddess Astarte was hatched from this egg. Astarte was “worshipped as the goddess of fertility- and as a sort of Morther Nature and goddess of Spring and sexual love and birth. The ideal of a mystic egg spread from Babylon to other parts of the world. In Northern Europe, china and Japan the eggs are colored for their sacred festivals.
What’s a good Christian parent to do? Do we tell the Easter Bunny to take a hike or do we allow him to stick around? While each family must decide for themselves, explaining the meaning of the holiday to your children is important. The Easter Bunny did not die for our sins or the sins of the world; only Jesus Christ did and He deserves the credit. As a parent, it’s my responsibility to teach my child about the sacrifice Jesus made for us. As long as she understands Resurrection Sunday, I see no reason for her not to enjoy coloring and hunting for eggs.
Three years ago I was introduced to Resurrection Eggs by a three-year-old. He had a carton of twelve colorful, plastic eggs. Each contained an object that was associated with Jesus. He told the story of Jesus’ path to the cross and His resurrection. As I listened to this child, I sat in pure awe. I remember thinking that I couldn’t have explained it any better myself. This simple, yet powerful interaction with a three year old demonstrated that it is possible for me to enjoy “traditions” of the holiday without losing the meaning of the Holy Day.
We have freedom in Christ Jesus. Because of this fact I look forward to planning activities. Although pagan in origin, I do not believe that coloring eggs, giving gift baskets or eating chocolate is harmful. Most people give little thought to the Easter Bunny’s history. Thus, there is no honor given to the old pagan gods or religions. I don’t believe I am compromising my commitment to Christ and His Church by participating in this Spring celebration. While the bunny won’t be my focus, I will use traditional Easter fun to teach my child about Christ’s Resurrection.
Deciding whether or not celebrating Easter fits within your faith is just one of many decisions you will face as a Christian parent. For my family, Easter continues to be a time of great celebration. Happy Easter!
B.L.O.G. Magazine Contributor
Cindy holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration from Clark Atlanta University. She recently resigned her post in public education to be a stay-at-home mom to Miss Aubrey. She is founder and Executive Director of TRIUMPH in Life, Inc., a non-profit organization design to empower students with learning disabilities. Cindy is also the author of “Destined for Success” and soon to be released “In Search of True Beauty.” Connect with Cindy via Facebook at Cindy Lumpkin or via email at email@example.com