Eostre & the Chocolate Bunny
I’m currently reading my Bible all the way through, from cover to cover. I’ve always been really good at doing daily devotionals and daily prayers, but I’ve never just read the Bible. I’m just about finished with the book of Judges.
I’m going rather slow. I tend to stop reading and check study notes, cross-reference with history, read passages in other parts of the Bible that apply, and generally immerse myself in the current scripture. Some days I only get through one chapter, some days, I read five.
One thing that stood out to me while reading the first five books especially is that God has called for his people to be removed from the people around them. The reason why is not out of any kind of racial or cultural prejudice. Rather, it is because we as humans are weak, sinful, neglectful, and selfish.
Consider Adam and Eve. Two humans living in harmony with perfect creation. They walked, personally and side-by-side, with God. They spoke directly to Him and received counsel directly from Him. And they had one requirement – do not eat from that one tree. EVERYTHING else was theirs for their pleasure and taking, but that one tree — and Eve was able to be deceived into tasting of the fruit, and Adam was able to be convinced to take the fruit from Eve.
Consider the Israelites who were Egyptian slaves. They were front row witnesses to the miracles God performed in the land of Egypt through Moses. They crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. They heard God’s voice speaking to Moses. And still, the second Moses was out of their sights, they formed a golden calf and had a little orgy.
Judges is full of cycles. The people turned from God and took up with the paganism around them, God brought a judge forward to get control of the people and reestablish God’s laws and regulations and they behaved for a couple of decades and then started back on the same track.
When the Israelites finished being punished for their calf-side orgy by being forced to wander in the wilderness until every adult finally died off, God let them go into Canan, but it was with the order that they kill every man, woman, and child. Many of the cities were completely destroyed and not re-inhabited. The reason God ordered this was because these societies were evil. Utterly evil and corrupt and God knew that if the Israelites lived among them, they would very quickly begin worshipping these other gods and start partaking in sexual sins, human sacrifices, cannibalism, etc.
Our culture today is a melting pot of religions. We celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ, during a season that was likely not his actual birth season, and bring elements of the pagan celebration of the winter solstice into play. We celebrate Halloween, which has absolutely no Christian influence at all, is entirely paganistic, and yet we have festivals at church with kids dressed up as little fairies or goblins and hand out jack-o’-lantern candies.
It’s something Christians completely accept and ignore. Easter us no exception. Despite the fact that we celebrate Easter during the exact time of year that Christ was crucified, and despite the fact that He was celebrating a very real religious holiday the day before He was crucified, sixty percent (60%) of the adults in America do not know that the holiday has anything to do with Jesus Christ. SIXTY percent.
The Easter holiday is barely removed from its pagan background. Easter even gets its name from the pagan goddess of spring, Eostre. The myth has it that she rescued a bird whose wings were frozen from the winter wind by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could lay eggs. And there you have the modern Easter Bunny and Easter eggs.
By removing the focus from Passover, by prettying up some eggs and creating tales of a magical bunny who delivers presents, we’ve removed the holiness of the Resurrection Sunday. Removed it so thoroughly that 60% of adults don’t even know what that means, removed it so thoroughly that only 2% of adults consider Easter to be the most important holiday of their faith.
What does this mean for me? I’m not entirely positive yet. I haven’t had a chance to really sit down with Gregg and talk about it, I haven’t really prayed through it yet. I know that this year, we won’t be talking about the Easter bunny coming. And since Easter will be our first morning at the beach house, all of the kids will have beach hats instead of Easter baskets. We always have used religious stickers and decorations when we color our eggs, and we’ve always given chocolate crosses instead of chocolate bunnies. We also have a traditional cookie we make Easter eve that involves Scripture reading and prayer.
We’ll have another year to really pray about it and decide what to do. Because while I’m not really ready to give up the pleasure of decorating eggs with my kids, I’m not really inclined to celebrate Eostre’s bunny coming into our home.
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