“Mom, you know why I believe in the Easter Bunny? Because you couldn’t have hidden such a great basket with all of this stuff in your room! I know because I looked everywhere!”—Lydia, age seven.
There is a lot of controversy among Christians about this particular holiday…and so I’m curious…where do you fall on the spectrum?
My parents were careful to keep the focus on the resurrection–and I mostly remember freezing in my thin Easter dresses at sunrise services—but they didn’t disallow egg hunts and Easter baskets. One of my best memories was watching my two-year-old niece (I was eleven) find her hidden Easter basket and bite in to her chocolate rabbit—foil and all!
When our children were very young, though, my husband and I tried to ban all of the “pagan” parts of the holiday and allow only the parts that pointed toward Jesus and the resurrection. I found fun and creative ways to celebrate the day. We baked “empty tomb” egg white cookies, with every step in the baking process having a corresponding Scripture verse. The cookies were bland but the lesson was inspired! (I’ve included the recipe.).
During those same years, my parents lived across the ocean and we didn’t have any family close by with whom to celebrate the day. Our kind neighbors shared their family—immediate and extended—with us. They would invite us to Easter dinner, and after the meal our small children would join in their family egg hunt. Their egg hunts were especially exciting because the eggs were filled with money! Sometimes a child would come home with more cash than was in my checking account (that’s not saying much; those were lean years. 🙂 ). It may seem to some that we gave in to the culture by taking part in our friends’ form of celebration, but to me we were just loving and accepting them…as they showed love and acceptance to us. I think each family has the right to choose for their own family how they will celebrate holidays but love and respect for others should trump that right. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” I John 3:18
Maybe we’ve mellowed in our “old age”. I probably should re-phrase that; we’ve mellowed in *their* old age…because we don’t feel the children are so impressionable at 12, 9 and 7 as they were when they were toddlers. Now we do it all: the basket, the eggs, and the resurrection story. For instance, today they woke up to find Easter baskets. Later we’ll talk about what happened on this day so long ago. We’ll share a meal with extended family. If it weren’t raining, we’d have an Easter egg hunt.
Many of my friends, however, believe that if they allow their children to think the Easter bunny is real–and later they find out that this was just pretend–they may believe that Jesus is pretend, too. Others simply don’t like the history surrounding the holiday and choose to do away with those parts of the celebration.
One of the most freeing moments of my life is when I decided that everyone else did not have to live and believe and think as I do, so I’m not asking this question to encourage discord. I love variety…variety in food, weather, pets…and people! I think it is fascinating to examine how others think and believe.
So…tell me…how do you celebrate this day?
Empty Tomb Cookies
• Whole pecans in a plastic baggie
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
• 3 egg whites
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 cup sugar
Directions: Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 1/2 day
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees–you MUST do it now. Also, gather a cooking mallet, kitchen mixer, masking tape and Bible.
2. Read John 19:1-3 ~ Jesus was beaten for our sins; beat the nuts with a cooking mallet; set aside.
3. Read John 19:28-30 – Jesus drank something like vinegar (gall), sniff the fragrance, dip finger in and taste, too; place the vinegar in a mixing bowl.
4. Read John 10:10-11 – Egg whites symbolize Jesus’ holy, innocent life; add whites to the bowl with the vinegar.
5. Read Luke 23:27 – the bitter tears of the women; taste a few grains, remember your own sins; add the salt to the bowl.
6. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16 – Sweet salvation! Taste and see; add to the bowl.
7. Crank up the mixer and let it go while you read from Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3; let the mixer go for about 12-15 MINUTES; this needs to be VERY stiff!
8. Read Matthew 27:57-60 – Fold the nuts into the egg-sugar mixture; this symbolizes the rocks in the garden.
9. Using a scoop or knife & spoon, drop by spoon into mounds (to resemble a rocky tomb); put into the oven and turn it OFF!
10. Read Matthew 27:65-66 – The tomb is sealed; use two pieces of tape (5-6 inches long) to “seal” the door edges (symbolically).
11. Read John 16:20 & 22 – Consider these passages, then go to bed!
12. NEXT MORNING: Read Matthew 28:1-9 – Jesus is risen! Behold–the empty tomb! Unseal the oven door, take out the cookies, break or bite one in half — it should be hollow inside—empty—just like the Tomb!
13. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!