My childhood Easter memories are filled with coloring hard boiled eggs the old fashioned way–with a concoction my mom made with food coloring and…some secret mom ingredient. We would color eggs and then hide and find and them in our small fenced front yard, usually with some neighborhood kids joining my brother and me. They are great memories: crisp days of Spring, squeals of laughter, and the mild disappointment at finding that one of the delicate eggs had cracked during the process. Those plastic eggs filled with money and candy didn’t appear until much later in our lives.
As I purchased some of those plastic eggs for my 3 year old’s Easter basket a few days ag0, the check out girl (I use “girl” because I’m not even sure she was 20) said, “I never got these when I was little. Easter was about…well, EASTER. We didn’t get eggs with money or candy.” This started me thinking about the commercialization of traditionally religious holidays. You see, for Christians Easter serves as an important reminder of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It really has nothing to do with bunnies, or brightly colored eggs, or candy and gifts. It has to do with memorial…and celebration.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home–it was something that I chose for myself as a child. However, it is extremely important in my family now and is a way of life we’ve taught our three daughters. Although we recognize and celebrate the weekend for the traditional Christian religious and spiritual value, we have also always participated in the commercial aspect of it. We buy Easter baskets. We color and hide eggs. We get and give candy. We get dressed up and have ham dinner. We play with toys.
None of these things have anything to do with Jesus and his death and resurrection. So, does that make us bad Christians? Are we being disrespectful by biting the ears off of chocolate bunnies on a day of Christian celebration? I don’t think so. Doing all of those things are fun for kids…and they’re fun for us. As long as we try to find the balance between Easter + bunny, I think we’ll be okay.