Every year on the first Sunday following the full moon or the Paschal (Passover) Moon, Christians around the world celebrate Easter. The way people choose to remember the resurrection of Christ varies. That variation has many factors including culture, denomination, location, etc. In Italy, people light a cart filled with fireworks. Australians have the royal Easter show which is much like a farmer’s market where people display their crops and livestock. In Poland, Christians exchange blessings baskets filled with bread, meats and eggs. In Italy, people make effigies of Judas to burn. Christians in India exchange colorful lanterns and throw street festivals.
As I am a resident in America, I know that we also have some pretty interesting ways to commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. We dress our children in pastels, buy them baskets of candy and toys. Some of us go all out and give live bunnies for the occasion. Some churches have special services. Families have special dinners. Again, the way the holy day is remembered, varies. But a trip to Wal-Mart a few days ago made me re-visit my questions about how we celebrate “Easter”. I didn’t dare go down any of the aisles of pastels and candy the store strategically positioned in the front. And I didn’t need to. The writing was literally on the wall.
Over the years, we Christians have incorporated so many practices in the celebration of the Resurrection that a lot of us have forgotten where these practices originated. The word Easter was actually mentioned in the Bible only once in Acts 12:4 in reference to the time of year James was killed by Herod. It was during the time of Easter or Ishtar, which was a celebration of Eostre goddess of spring or fertility.
See Jesus anywhere?
I’m not judging. I did it for years. My parents subjected my siblings and me to “Easter” traditions and rituals. I passed it on for a brief time to my children. The world has incorporated these pagan traditions and rituals into the holiest of holidays.
The truth is bunnies and eggs have nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ and in my opinion should have no part of any commemoration of His death, burial and resurrection.
It was hard for me to explain to children how eggs and candy and Peter Cottontail had anything to do with Jesus. So, I stopped associating these things with the Resurrection of Christ. Like so many others, I started calling this celebration by its name: Resurrection Day.
Now my brothers and sisters, I make no judgement against you for doing these things. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
If we can reach more people with the gospel by being more inclusive, I am in full agreement. I do not judge those who choose to hand out Easter baskets, decorate eggs or buy bunnies for the occasion. I choose not to do so. If anything, I would advocate for baptisms on this holy weekend instead.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Romans 6: 3-5
My only prayer is that we all know and believe the gospel of Christ and that this Resurrection Day is a celebration of the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made so that we will not have to face the second death on the day of judgement.
This and every holiday or observance that may come, let’s remember that while it is good and albeit at times necessary to incorporate other’s comforts for the sake of sharing the gospel, we must also be careful not to conform to this world but share the gospel of Christ to every person in every culture in all of the world.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.