First, the best perspective…
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how
that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that
he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to
the scriptures: – I Corinthians 15:3-4
As we enter this special and holy weekend, there is so much for which to be thankful. The Scripture tells the story of redemption, beginning with the early chapters in Genesis, leading to the time when God the Father sent His only Son to redeem mankind. Those who place their trust in Jesus’ death on the cross for forgiveness of sin and believe
in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead shall be saved.
Yet in the midst of the blessedness of this and other holy occasions,
I have often wondered… Why it is that every Christian holiday and special event seems to be dominated by a make-believe character? Resurrection Sunday and Christmas are of course the best known examples and these special days are – at least for the most part – overtaken by characters like the ‘Easter Bunny’ and ‘Santa Claus’.
It’s the same with other special days that have their foundation in Christian thought. There’s Valentine’s Day, known for the angelic cherub named Cupid. Also, Saint Patrick’s Day with its silly-looking leprechaun. Thanksgiving is dominated by the turkey or cartoon-character pilgrims. Oh… and several football games too. Well, at least it keeps the men out of the kitchen! Even Halloween, though many consider it debatable, seems to have a Christian element that has been almost entirely forgotten over time. Instead, we have myriad ghosts, ghouls, and goblins – and jack-o-lanterns.
Now before those of you who are parents of young children get too upset with me and click the Red X, take a moment and consider my thoughts. I’m not here to bash the fun of great American customs. After all, Dee and I had a part in these traditions when we were children and we made sure that our son Brandon enjoyed them as well. However, Brandon never believed in the mythical characters associated with these special days, or the tooth fairy for that matter!
However, my long-time observation is that characters like the Easter Bunny are sometimes allowed to completely overshadow the true spiritual meaning of holy and very special occasions. The result is that deeply meaningful Christian holidays become watered down and the spiritual emphasis can be much too easily misplaced. Perhaps not so much in your family, but certainly within our society as a whole.
What about the other special days we commemorate throughout the year? There’s no such thing as a Memorial Day ‘Elf’, nor is there some character like a Labor Day ‘Troll’ to distract us from the meaning of these days. There’s no dishonoring silliness for Presidents Day and certainly not for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. During the 4th of July celebrations, we might see the character of ‘Uncle Sam’ but this is actually appropriate and he fits quite well within the occasion.
Ah well… If this weekend is indeed important to you and your family,
I am confident that you will enjoy the deeply spiritual aspects with friends and family.
As we commemorate and celebrate the death and the resurrection
of our Savior, Christ Jesus the Lord, let’s be sure to take some time
to pause and reflect on all that He has done for us. Attend a church service. Read a passage of Scripture. Take a few moments to pray and spend time in His presence. Speak a few quiet words of your genuine, heartfelt thanks for His death on the cross and for His resurrection, which provides the way – the only way – for you and I to have our
sins forgiven and enjoy eternity in heaven.
Also, let’s make sure that the mythical character of the Easter Bunny does not dominate the day, but instead maintains its rightful place – as a small bit of fun, but diminished in importance and very much outside the center of our focus and attention.
God bless you and have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!
“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…”
– Luke 24:5b-6a