Early one Easter morning a family was driving to the sunrise service at church. The sun was just beginning to rise when a rabbit dashed into the road. The husband swerved to avoid the rabbit but was unsuccessful. Thud! From the back seat of the car, the 15-year-old daughter wailed to her stepfather: You just killed the Easter bunny!
The demise of that bunny spawned a conversation about how and why the Easter bunny had become such a pivotal character in modern Easter celebrations. While one person in that car was in mourning and just wanted to get home to eat Easter candy, others in the family were curious about the answer to that question. Here is what was discovered…
What Is the Real Meaning of Easter?
For Christians, Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus had suffered and died on a cross on Friday afternoon. Crucifixion was a punishment reserved for hardened criminals, but Jesus had done nothing wrong. Though the religious and governmental leaders arranged for Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus went to the cross willing to pay the penalty for the sins of all people of all time. He died in three hours, and some friends quickly buried Him in a tomb.
Early Sunday morning, some of Jesus’ followers arrived at His tomb to anoint His body. They discovered an empty tomb. An angel told them that Jesus was alive! That news turned their tears into joy and changed their lives and the lives of all Christians since. Eventually, this day became known as Easter.
The early Christians began to worship on Sundays in order to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection every week. Jesus’ resurrection gave them the hope that physical death is not the end, and that all who believe in Jesus will live with Him forever in heaven.
What Does the Easter Bunny Have to Do with Jesus?
Since ancient times, hares and rabbits have been known for their prolific breeding. They became symbols of life and fertility. Their annual breeding season begins in the spring of the year. The Bible connects Jesus’ resurrection with the concept of new life, but nowhere does it mention Easter bunnies. Throughout history, people began to connect nature’s springtime events with the Christian springtime celebration of Easter.
During the past two centuries in America, Easter has become more and more secularized and commercialized. Easter egg hunts, Easter parades, and Easter baskets delivered by the Easter Bunny have become part of the texture of the American culture. These are traditions to be enjoyed, but they have nothing to do with Jesus’ resurrection.
Celebrate with Us!
This Easter we hope you will enjoy your family’s Easter traditions. At Shepherd’s Gate Church, we will be in full joy mode as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. We would love for you and your family to join us online or in-person for one of our three Easter worship services. Scroll down the home page of our website sgatechurch.org for the details. We invite you and your family to experience the love of Jesus with us this Easter.