Archive for Saturday, April 23, 2011

Faith Forum: Do the holiday traditions of egg hunts and baskets take away from the story of Easter?

April 23, 2011

Advertisement

The Rev. Barry Watts, associate pastor, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:

The holiday traditions of egg hunts and Easter baskets give Christians a wonderful opportunity to teach about the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Instead of taking away or being a distraction, these symbols can enhance the gospel message.

This year, as part of our Children’s Church and egg hunt to follow, we are using 1 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can become a new creation, forgiven of our sins.

The traditions of eggs and baskets come from the pagan festival of Easter during the spring equinox. These symbols of fertility were used to celebrate the new life of spring. New life is seen all around this time of year, as we leave winter behind and progress toward summer.

These symbols can be used to illustrate a new life in Christ. The significance of His resurrection was described by Jesus in John 11:25-26. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

Although the holiday traditions of Easter can be an effective teaching tool, there is the potential for secular traditions to become a distraction. We must be intentional to keep the focus of Easter on Jesus Christ.

Finally, it is important to explain to children the difference between the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and Jesus Christ. While the bunny and Santa are symbolic, Jesus is a reality. There is historical evidence and witness accounts of his life, his death and his resurrection.

May God bless this Easter season and bring us all closer to him.

— Send e-mail to Barry Watts at barrygwatts@gmail.com.

The Rev. Kara Eidson, minister, WesleyKU, 946 Vt.:

The Easter holiday has been vastly secularized in a similar manner as Christmas. Both of these holidays have become cultural events, and many people celebrate them in a manner that is separate from the religious roots of the holidays.

A great deal has been lost in turning Holy Week into Easter festivities week. Unfortunately, many people have cast aside the ideas of both Advent and Lent — and turned Christmas and Easter into month-long celebrations. The purpose of Lent is to prepare our hearts for the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ once more; Holy Week is not supposed to be a week-long celebration of Easter. A great deal of the joy, miracle, and hope of Easter morning is lost (or at least greatly diminished) without the suffering and death.

Many people have told me that they hate Good Friday services — they find them depressing and sad — but this is ignoring a vast portion of the human experience; human beings are often sad, lonely, depressed and suffering.

We have a faith that acknowledges the full range of human emotions, and when allow ourselves to dwell on the suffering and pain of the cross, it makes Easter morning all the more rewarding!

Don’t get me wrong, I prepare Easter baskets with candy and stuffed bunnies for my nieces, dye Easter eggs with my family and think that Cadbury eggs are pretty tasty. I don’t think it is necessary to throw out the “fun” traditions of the holiday to recapture the sacred nature of Easter.

But I think we must fight against the desire to dwell only in the joy of Easter morning, we must not ignore the difficult journey it took to arrive at the empty tomb!

— Send e-mail to Kara Eidson at kara.eidson@ku.edu.

Comments

FloridaSunshine 4 years, 3 months ago

@ Reverend Barry and Reverand Kara...

I am always amazed when I read Faith Forum, realizing what a great wealth of "community" Lawrence offers those who wish to worship God.

I am a Christian and it seems between the two of you, today, you have placed before us the most important issues for the Easter "season".

I agree with you, Reverend Kara, that "a great deal of the joy, miracle, and hope of Easter morning is lost (or at least greatly diminished) without the suffering and death" which lead to that empty tomb. I've never understood how one can celebrate Easter without experiencing Lent and the preceding Holy Days making Easter a true celebration.

I also agree that the fun traditions are oh, so much of a thrill for the little ones...and for a lot of us parents and grandparents! My little granddaughter is thrilled about the Easter egg hunt at our church today (Saturday) and you can know that we adults will be cheering her on to find the grand prize egg! Tomorrow she will celebrate with us the empty tomb...and our risen Lord!

Reverend Barry...I thank you for the way you skimmed right over referring to the pagan "issues" regarding our most sacred day in the Christian church. I get so weary hearing all of what we hear from the pagans. As I stated in another post, the pagans (in the past...and present) will never understand that our celebrations have nothing at all to do with them. Our eyes and hearts are on our Lord Jesus and what He did for us all. It wouldn't matter what time of year, what dates...only that we recognize His great sacrifices for us. Not only was going to a cruel cross a sacrifice for Him...leaving His Heavenly Father to be born as a human baby was a great sacrifice...not coming as a King, as He will when He returns, but as a humble baby so that we ALL would think of Him as "more accessible". Truly, He has offered us the greatest love we can ever know.

Thank you both for your thoughtful comments. Wishing you both a joyous Easter!! He is risen!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.