Even the most casual of American observers can tell that Easter is just around the corner. All you have to do is stop by the store of your choice and look at the candy aisle. If you’re looking for a simple chocolate bar, you’ll have to look for a while. They’ll probably be buried under the chocolate bunnies, which for some reason cost substantially more per ounce than a plain bar of the same chocolate. I guess that goes to show how easily we’re conned out of our money when there’s a holiday close by. Traditions have a way of making the most frugal shopper into a consumer values idiot.
There are many age-old traditions associated with Easter. One of my favorites are Easter Edibles. We have our chocolate bunnies, and our marshmallow chicks, and our “jelly eggs” (they’re jelly beans any other time of year). Then, there’s the wide assortment of candy eggs, usually chocolate on the outside and some other sugar-laden substance on the inside.
Then, of course, there are the Easter Eggs that really are eggs — Hard-boiled chicken eggs, colored and/or painted, and decorated. These can be both delightful and disgusting, particularly the ones that were missed in the Easter Egg Hunt and found by the dog around June or July. They’re delightful if it’s someone else’s dog that found ’em, and you’re hearing the story told. They’re disgusting if it was your dog. One such incident will give you a whole new understanding of why so many of those little hollow plastic eggs are sold each year.
There are also many non-candy based eating opportunities associated with Easter, like those lovely breakfasts that follow some of our Sunrise services. If I have to get up that early, there had better be food!
As I sit here and contemplate Easter, and all of its trappings in our modern American society, I find several questions gnawing away in my mind:
Q: “What do chocolate bunnies and hard-boiled eggs really have to do with Easter?” A: “Well– absolutely nothing.”
Q: “Does Easter really make much difference in our society?” A: “Depends. It makes a pretty significant impact on the candy, flower, and plastic trinket industries.”
Q: “Have people forgotten what we’re really celebrating at Easter?” A: “Uh-Huh.”
Easter doesn’t really have a single thing to do with chocolate bunnies and hard-boiled eggs. Easter has everything to do with joy, freedom, and living an abundant, empowered, energized life. Easter isn’t a “celebration of Spring.” it’s a celebration of death and life. We celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ willingly chose to die on our behalf, and to take the judgment and punishment that we all so richly deserve. We celebrate the fact that, through Jesus, we can die to our old, sinful selves. Our “old” nature can be dead and buried once and for all.
We celebrate the fact that after Jesus died, He didn’t stay dead. On the third day, He walked out of that tomb, victorious over sin and death – and He offers that same victorious empowerment to any and all who will ask Him for it. Those who chose to follow Jesus can not only be assured of eternity with Him, but of victorious, empowered, dynamic living right here, in this world.
Celebrating Easter without Jesus is kind of like the inside of most of those cheap chocolate bunnies–hollow, empty, and void.