Easter v. the Easter Bunny
This Sunday is Easter, the most blessed day of the year. It is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, three days after he was brutally killed on the cross. It is a time for great celebration, a time we realize the blessings of new life through Him. It is a time for reflection about our lives, taking into account all the wrongs we have committed, and knowing we are forgiven through the blood of Christ.
Easter Sunday is the day for the once-a-year worshippers to appear in church sanctuaries. They realize there is something special on that day, and they need to be in church.
It is true that it is the most important day to be in church, as it is a time of hope and renewal. Places of worship are often decorated with lilies or other spring flowers, as symbols of new life. A cross may often be decorated with a white cloth draped around it, signifying the shroud of Christ gone from his body because he is no longer in the grave, but has risen from the dead.
So, what’s with the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs? How in the world do they relate to the celebration of the Resurrection, and how is it that a bunny and not a chicken has become a symbol of Easter?
The egg represents new life. That’s something that makes sense, as Easter is a celebration of new life through Christ Jesus. I have heard that in the Medieval times, people were not allowed to eat eggs during lent (which is the 40 days before Easter), so on Easter, it was a treat to be able to eat an egg, I think thereafter folks started coloring eggs with pretty colors because it was such a special thing right after Easter.
The Easter Bunny, however, is a bit harder for me to understand. It is certainly not Biblical that an Easter bunny would represent the risen Christ. The symbol of a rabbit began as a pagan tradition, honoring the goddess of fertility and spring. Rabbits are typically known to be very fertile, hence the expression, “multiplying like rabbits.” So, it may make sense to have the rabbit a symbol of Easter, because it, too, represents new life. According to history.com, the Easter Bunny character first came to this country in the 1700s by some German immigrants to Pennsylvania. The Bunny would lay colorful eggs for the children who were good.
I remember, as a child, Easter Sunday morning in our house, receiving my Easter basket full of goodies, and then getting ready for church in my brand-new Easter dress, shoes, and hat. Then, our family would go out in the front yard to take our traditional family Easter Sunday picture. On to church was the next thing we did. Sunday afternoon, we went to the park to the city-wide Easter Egg hunt.
Nowadays, we don’t see Easter events like I remember as a child. There are no more Easter parades, nor more Easter bonnets “with all the frills upon it,” and Easter Egg hunts are not on Easter Sunday afternoon, but, if they even occur, are on the weekends before Easter Sunday.
Nevertheless, Easter is still celebrated, and I am thankful for that. It is truly the most blessed time of the year.
There is a hymn I love, which is not actually considered an Easter hymn, but it reflects the true nature of Christ’s teaching. The hymn was written by John Oxenham in 1913. “In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north; but one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.”
So, whether you attend or participate in the Easter Bunny/Egg festivities, remember the true reason we celebrate Easter. It is about Christ, who loved us and wants us to love each other.
Have a Happy Easter! Celebrate it!
My love to all,
• • •
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus… Suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them … The women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
— Luke 24:1-6a