On Faith: Easter Bunny, are you for real?OK, I admit I didn’t come up with that headline. Harold Myra penned some books to answer his own children’s questions about Christian holidays and celebrations and how Santa Claus or the Easter bunny fit into the picture.
By: Pastor Kirk Schield, Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, Lake County News Chronicle
OK, I admit I didn’t come up with that headline. Harold Myra penned some books to answer his own children’s questions about Christian holidays and celebrations and how Santa Claus or the Easter bunny fit into the picture. In case you haven’t read the book, “Easter Bunny; Are You For Real?” allow me to give you my abridged version:
Michelle’s kindergarten class is making a large Easter bunny out of paper mache. When her little brother, Greg, sees their comical creation he exclaims “naughty!” Greg is too young to explain, so their father asks Michelle what he meant by the outburst.
Michelle recalls that at church “someone said that it’s a shame the way kids get all excited about the Easter bunny.” When Michelle’s other brother, Todd, says that he likes the Easter bunny, Michelle asks her father, “Daddy, how’d the Easter bunny get into Easter anyhow?”
Their father sits down to tell the children about the tradition. “Let’s go back to the beginning…back to Jesus’ friends just before Easter. They had seen Jesus grabbed by soldiers. They saw him killed on the cross, then buried. All their dreams were gone. What a terrible day! Jesus was dead.”
“But three days later – that first Easter dawn – Jesus broke out of his grave. He was alive again! He walked and talked with his friends. He ate with them. ‘See my hands and my feet,’ Jesus told them. ‘It is I, Touch me and see!’”
“His disciples suddenly knew everything was different. Jesus would live forever. And they would too! Now they knew death was the beginning, not the end.”
“But why did Jesus let those bad guys kill him in the first place?” Todd asked. “Especially if he’s so powerful.”
Dad explains. “Jesus could have destroyed them. But they were people he came to save. All of us are ‘bad guys,’ you know – we’ve all disobeyed God. But Jesus died and rose again so God would forgive us – so we could live forever with him.”
Michelle persists. “But where’d the Easter bunny come in?”
Dad continues: “While the early Christians celebrated Easter, others were celebrating springtime. After a cold, dark winter, people were glad to see new leaves and flowers, and animals having babies – kittens and chicks and foals – and, yes, bunnies. Rabbit stories just grew out of that. Like the old story from Germany in which a poor woman put colored eggs in a nest. Just as her children discovered them, a rabbit leaped away. Soon kids said that the rabbit had brought the eggs. Even today, people are making up new stories about the Easter bunny.”
“You mean,” Michelle said, “the Easter bunny has nothing to do with the real Easter?”
“That’s right,” said Dad, “He’s part of celebrating spring – but that’s all. Spring is nature coming back to life again – it’s God’s picture of Jesus rising from the dead.”
Their mother calls from the kitchen where she is boiling some eggs to color. “Where do the eggs come in?”
“For the 40 days before Easter early Christians used to fast as they remembered Christ’s sufferings. Fasting reminds us of dying with Christ. Then comes Easter – the sad time is over. Feast time arrives! Eggs remind us of new life. They were brought to the table colored red for Easter joy. We have new life in Christ, so eat and make merry,” says Dad.
“I like that part!” Todd exclaims.
A blessed Easter to all.