This weekend, millions of people will dye & hide eggs, attend church, and play “Easter bunny” while giving baskets of gifts & chocolate. While all of this is fun, are we missing something?
A History lesson we need to know: Easter was originally a pagan festival. Ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a party in honor of Eastre, their goddess of offspring and of the spring season. Their festival often included a rabbit, which represented the goddess Eastre in her earthly form and the children were given toys and candies to celebrate.
It wasn’t until second-century Christian missionaries discovered the ancient Saxons that the meaning started to shift. As Saxons were converted to Christianity, they held on to their pagan celebration. As a coincidence, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of the year as the Christian remembrance of the Resurrection of Christ. Slowly, as more Saxons were converted, the meaning of the festival itself was changed, and the customs remained. The name of the festival itself eventually changed from Eastre to Easter, as we know it now.
Have we idolized Easter without realizing it? Origins aside, Easter is a time for believers to celebrate Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross. But like most celebrated holidays, our culture has found a way to commercialize the celebrations. The resurrection of Jesus was the most important moment in human history, but when we wake up this Sunday, are we more focused on earthly things, or Him? The bunny, the eggs, the pastel colors… they celebrate spring. They celebrate Eastre. Not Jesus.
Looking for some meaningful change on Easter? Shake up the norm with these 5 great Easter ideas for your whole family!
1. Invite someone new to your Easter Feast.
ave a friend who’s going through a tough time? See a homeless person who could use a hot meal? Notice someone new to your church? Invite them to your dinner and take care of them.
2. Make a new Easter tradition.
Take a sunrise hike. Write notes of encouragement to friends, family, or strangers. Have a family devotion together to talk about what Easter means to you. Serve at a homeless shelter. Or come up with your own!
3. Wake up to the Gospels and prayer… not the bunny.
On Sunday morning, revisit what is written about Jesus’ Resurrection to inspire hope and love. Add communion and prayers of thanks and watch how it changes the rest of your day.
4. Know someone with doubts? Help them understand the truth.
There are some great books that present practical, historical evidence for the resurrection. If you know somebody who is struggling to believe in the meaning of Easter, put one of these books in their basket this year: ‘The Case For The Resurrection of Jesus’ by Fary Habermas and Micael Licona, or ‘The Case For Easter’ by Lee Strobel.
5. Change up the way you do Easter treats.
Each year, millions of pounds of Easter packaging end up in landfills. Consider making your own treats-It’s a fun way to bond with your family while being socially conscience.