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How to Celebrate Easter as a Christian
Living a Christian life isn’t always easy and our Lord never said it would be. In fact, Jesus said, “... for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there which go in ,because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few will find it.” (Matthew7:13-14)
The fact is, we live in an extremely secular world and sometimes living the good Christian life seems to come with compromises. But those compromises can be seen as sinful if we look at where the celebration of Easter came from and how, as a society, we have replaced Jesus’ Resurrection with the Easter bunny.
Although nobody really knows the origin of Easter, most scholars will agree that Easter has it’s roots in paganism. And with the relentless commercialism of chocolate bunnies and colored eggs it is clear that the true meaning of the holiday has been lost.
So, how, as Christians, should we celebrate Easter and other pagan holidays? After all, many of us have been raised to idolize the non-existent Easter Bunny and anticipate his secret hop into our homes, leaving baskets of goodies along the way. Many of us have taught our own children this same tradition. So what do we do now?
The truth is there is no easy, straightforward answer. Many opinions can be found on this topic, but I like to use this one simple rule: Follow your heart and let Jesus show you the way.
Television personality, Dr. Phil, had a guest on some time ago who wrestled with this same issue. A young Christian mother was struggling with her beliefs and the wishes of her family. The young woman felt in her heart that holidays such as Easter and Christmas were pagan holidays and she refused to raise her child to celebrate the occasions. Her family members were up in arms. They felt that denying her daughter the right to believe in the Easter bunny or Santa Claus was mean and unfair. They felt that the daughter was, in some way, being abused because she didn’t receive a basket full of candy or presents under a tree. It was an ongoing battle between this young mom and her family.
If memory serves correct, this young woman stood her ground in her walk with Jesus. As hard as it most likely was for her to be persecuted by her family, she didn’t budge. She didn’t compromise. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing?” (Job 14:4). It might be better to ask yourself if you can make an unclean pagan holiday and turn it into something clean and righteous.
Dr. Phil, as a former psychologist, believes that there is more than one definition of each holiday. While one person might see it as a religious event, another may see it as quality time with the family. Yet, someone else may chose to see it as a time of giving and receiving. Basically, it’s okay to celebrate the Holiday in whatever fashion you choose. It would appear that Dr. Phil is not a Christian and that his beliefs may be a little, well, pagan.
Since we are Christians, and not pagan, how do we go about handling this dilemma? If you are, as many others are, torn at the idea of taking the holidays away from your children, you may want to think about setting new traditions instead. Make Jesus the top priority of your new tradition.
One way is to do this is to convey the message of Jesus to our children and family. Making a big deal (as it certainly is!) out of the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, should trump any excitement over the Easter bunny. The same goes for Christmas. Make a birthday cake for Jesus, say a prayer, and then exchange the gifts. Make it known that the gift-giving comes from the gifts that were given to Jesus at the manager. If Santa Claus or the Easter bunny is brought up ,(and it’s almost certain your child will), as a Christian, it would be best to say,”Yes, but the true reason we celebrate is...”
Having children makes it harder to celebrate the holidays for all the right reasons. You can’t simply tell a five-year-old that the Easter Bunny is a lie. You can, however, explain the real meaning of the holiday. Your home can be decorated in such a way that shows more of Jesus than the Easter bunny. When your child talks about the Easter bunny (and they will) try to steer the conversation toward Jesus and how he sacrificed for us.
Jesus Christ died for our sins. Is it right to make Him share the spotlight with a non-existent bunny? Jesus makes it clear that nothing clean can come out of an unclean thing. Compromising the holidays with traditions that include the idolization of fictional characters is, without a doubt, sinful.