Unless you just crawled out of a cave, you know that Easter is this Sunday. It is the day of Jesus Christ and the Easter Bunny.
Any ways, I am a Christian and I am an American. So Easter has been a tale of two stories.
Growing up as a child, I looked forward to getting up on Easter morning and finding that basket of chocolate candies and jelly beans the Easter Bunny left for us. The church I belonged to didn’t give much significance to the holiday from a religious point of view. So that is pretty much my childhood history with Easter.
Today, I am a follower of Jesus who happens to preach and minister with a church. I am also blessed to be married to an awesome wife with whom I am raising two children (ages 7 and 4). Our children will wake up this Sunday morning and find an Easter basket left to them by the “Easter Bunny.” Then we will gather with our church where Easter Sunday will be given more significance because of the day it is and because of the Easter Sunday church visitors we may have (if it is the only chance I get to preach to such people, I want them to hear about the death and resurrection of Jesus).
But I struggle. Is the tradition of the Easter Bunny and candy baskets a good tradition? As a parent concerned with teaching my children to follow Jesus as their life passion rather than Jesus being just another part of life…is the bunny and basket a good thing?
I almost told my seven year-old the truth about the Easter Bunny yesterday morning. I stopped when I asked her what Easter is about and she responded by telling me about the death and resurrection of Jesus.
But… It seems as though there is a lot of church people who confess the name of Jesus, tell of his death and resurrection and yet they continue living their life as if that story makes little difference. You know it and I know it because we see it every day, professing Christians who will show up for worship this Sunday (and perhaps a few more Sundays throughout the year) because it is a good religious tradition. Then they will leave just the same as they entered.
So I wonder, if part of the problem is because we have mixed the story of Jesus, the reason for which we have a Good Friday and Easter Sunday, with a cute tradition appears harmless (which is what Screwtape would want Wormwood to convince the patients of). Part of me is telling myself not to think like some fundamentalist but part of me wonders…
Have we made a mistake by mixing Jesus Christ and the Easter Bunny?