Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's wrong with Easter?

FYI: I'm about to step up onto my Easter soapbox. Feel free to move on to another blog or read your emails instead if you don't like what I'm saying. These are purely my convictions about Easter. You don't have to agree or share my issues. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

What's wrong with Easter?

2 words: Nothing and Everything

I know that sounds so totally contradictory, but let me explain my conflict. I have such a hard time with the Easter holiday every year. Not with the holiday itself but with how it's celebrated. I realize I should only concern myself with how it is celebrated at my own house, but I still find myself conflicted about how to best do that. And I find myself comparing how we (in the Church) celebrate the 2 major Christian holidays of the year -- Christmas & Easter.

{Sidenote: I know plenty of people who feel that Christmas & Easter are pagan holidays, not Christian ones. That is a whole other story and I do understand where they're coming from, but I choose to see them as Christian holidays because the basis for why I celebrate the two is found in my Christian faith--the birth & resurrection of my Savior.}

You see, at Christmastime, our churches focus on the birth of Jesus. As they should. Our children's programs contain songs about adoring the Christ child, celebrating His birthday. The kids bring home a month long supply of crafts that all help them understand & focus on the holiday being about His birth. Manger scenes, shepherds, angels, babies wrapped in cloth. I would be concerned if the kids came out of Sunday School with pictures of Santa or reindeer. It would bother me to see Santa seated in the foyer taking children's Christmas lists at the Christmas Eve service. It just doesn't make sense for them to do that at church. Right?

So why do we handle Easter differently? Sure, churches still focus on the real meaning of the holiday -- Jesus's resurrection -- but 5 minutes later we host huge Easter egg hunts. We advertise for weeks in advance. We have a costumed person in a bunny suit on the church lawn to entertain the kids. We promise prizes galore if you can find the special golden egg. What do you think the kids go home remembering that day...the chocolate frenzy or the resurrection of Christ?

You see, the world has no problem wrapping their brains around a child's birth. We see babies born all the time. It happens every day. Most people can grasp a birth because it's happened to them or their family. But a resurrection? THAT is hard to understand & believe in. How many people do you know who've died & come back? How many gods from other religions have done it? It seems like a fairytale or fiction novel. But the resurrection is what makes my faith what it is.

I believe in a God who is not dead.
I believe in a God who was prophesied about for many, many generations before His earthly birth --including prophecy about His death & resurrection.
My trust is in a Savior who rose from the dead after paying a price I could never pay.
I have a personal relationship with a God who answers my prayers & communicates with me every single day.
My hope & faith & trust are in a God who is ALIVE.

Had He not resurrected, the Christian faith would not be what it is. His resurrection changed everything. And yet we confuse people with what this day is about. And I just don't 'get' that.

Don't misunderstand. My children get Easter baskets (although we've never told them that anyone but us brings them). My children hunt eggs. My children get candy. And they enjoy it. But they also read about the resurrection....and tell us about the resurrection eggs (a cool tool we use to help them grasp it all)....and make resurrection rolls....and take part in Good Friday services....and so on. I don't for one second believe that my family somehow has it all together or that we're doing it 'better' or 'right'. I don't think there is ONE 'right' way to do it. But I struggle with the screwed up emphasis we (the Church) put on Christmas, but not on Easter. What is that all about?

I wish there was a book out there that said 'Do holidays like this to insure that your children grow up strong in their faith with a clear picture of the balance between fun/worldly traditions & deep theological truth.' But there's not.


Being a parent is hard, folks.


Rachel said...

I am not a parent, but I can definitely see your point in this post. I have never actually thought about it in this way. This is why I enjoy reading your blog. You give me something to think about quite often. I enjoy your perspective on issues such as this and appreciate that you admit that yours is not the "right" or "only" way to do things, although I have yet to really disagree with anything you have said. You make some really great points in this post!

Mark and Elayne said...

Great post Liz. I know people have different views and I respect that .When my son was a child, we too told the story of the birth, life, death and rescurrection of Messiah, but without the pagen touches.
As messiniac jews, we just celebrated Passover a few days ago, the Last meal of HaMessiah (Jesus Christ)Today we celebrate His Rescurrection. So Happy Recurrection Day :)

Lauree said...

Great post Liz. Christmas 2010 was our first year to do away with Santa and we'll be doing the same with the Easter Bunny. As in, the Easter baskets will come from Mommy and Daddy. I do not believe you have to do away with any of the "characters" for kids to understand the true meaning of these 2 holidays but our family has chosen to do this. I think as parents, we do our best and pray, pray, pray!

Kristi said...

Liz, this blog is dead on!! I have had this discussion with many people. Christ is the whole reason why we exist, who are we(people in general) to try and cover up all he has done for us with Santas, gifts, bunnies or all the other ways this world tries to commercialize his life, death and resurrection.