Revisiting Eostre and Her Bunny
- By: Hallee
- 5 Comments
Following this introduction (below the line) you’ll find my post from last year regarding Easter. We’ve had a year to work out how we, as a family with children, handle various holidays.
We were still kind of fluctuating about whether or not we would have done Halloween at all, but my parents babysat the boys while I went to Abu Dhabi to visit Gregg. They trick-or-treated with my niece and nephews and had a great time. Kaylee participated in a “trunk or treat” at our church with the friends who were watching her while I was gone. Scott is already talking about next Halloween – and we’ve still not solidified what our observances will be as a family.
We celebrated Christmas, but not in a “normal” fashion. The children each got three presents and a stocking. After breakfast, we went to the soup kitchen and cooked and served lunch to the homeless. It was late afternoon when we got home, and we just had a quiet evening together as a family. We read books about Christmas and were able to have a long conversation with Gregg.
We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by learning about his ministries and talking about current missionaries. Here on the blog we donated $100 to a mission.
Now here we are at Easter again. The very basis for our faith, for our lives, is that Jesus Christ paid the payment for our sins by suffering and dying on the cross, was buried in a tomb and resurrected on the third day, then He ascended into Heaven and sits at Father God’s right hand. That is the core of everything we believe, the reason we live the way we live, and our message to the world.
We don’t want to cloud that with eggs and bunnies and cute chicks.
We’re going to celebrate the Passover as a family, and talk about how the Passover lamb was actually a prophecy of Christ.
The dates on which Jesus was taken by the Roman authorities, and then slain, also coincided precisely with the Jewish Passover. Jesus became the Passover Lamb, “without blemish.” At the first Passover, described in Exodus 12, God instructed the Israelites to kill a lamb with no blemishes and to put its blood on their door posts. When the angel of death passed through Egypt where the Israelites were being held as slaves, it would pass by any house that had the blood of the a Passover lamb on its door posts. Jesus fulfilled Moses’ prophecy of the Passover Lamb because it is through His blood that we can be saved from, or passed over by, death. ~ Peter and Paul LaLonde
Because of the softball schedule, we won’t celebrate Passover until Wednesday. Wednesday night is a foot-washing service at church, so that will tie well into our Passover observance.
Sunday is Easter – which we also refer to as Resurrection Sunday. The kids have all sorts of Easter books and DVD’s, so we aren’t going to confuse or cloud – we’ll just also use the term Resurrection. We’ll make Resurrection Cookies on Saturday night, with the Bible reading that goes along with making them. Sunday morning we have a sunrise service at church at 7:30 AM, breakfast at church, followed by our normal church services, then will return home where we’ll have a lunch that, if the weather is nice, will end up being a picnic lunch at our park, celebrating Christ’s resurrection and our salvation.
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!
The kids have new clothes for church – something that I have done since I was a little girl – shopping for my Easter dress is something I still look forward to – but they won’t be receiving any baskets or gifts. We will focus on the most ultimate gift – the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. (John 3:16).
We aren’t going to judge or condemn what anyone else does anything different – from decorating Easter eggs to full blown gift giving bonanzas. Each family needs to make their own decisions and their own traditions for holidays. This is just how our family has decided to observe this, what is to us, the most holy and amazing of all holidays.
However you enjoy it, please remember Christ’s gift to us, and find a way to incorporate it into your celebrations. I pray you have a wonderful holiday.
Eostre & the Chocolate Bunny
Originally published April 2, 2010
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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I never knew thats where the bunny and eggs came from! Thanks for sharing.
Thank You Hallee for this! I just posted on my blog (http://www.waybackwhenwoman.blogspot.com) about how I am so torn over the whole Easter Bunny thing. I think it does take away from Jesus’ resurrection. But I never knew WHY. Until your post of how bunnies and eggs and Easter came to be. I will be forwarding this to friends and reposting on my blog (there was a woman who commented that she too didn’t know what to do!).
Caroline – thank you so much for linking back to this post. I’m so happy that you were able to learn something new and determine how you want to apply that knowledge to your walk.
The name refers to Eostur-monath Old English ostre month a month of the attested by who writes that the month is named after the of . Bede notes that ostur-monath was the equivalent to the month of April yet that feasts held in her honor during ostur-monath had gone out of use by the time of his writing and had been replaced with the Christian custom of season ..Using comparative linguistic evidence from continental Germanic sources the 19th century scholar proposed the existence of a cognate form of ostre among the of the whose name he reconstructed as Ostara..Since Grimms time linguists have identified the goddess as a Germanic form of the goddess of the dawn and theories connecting ostre with records of Germanic including hares and eggs have been proposed..Modern German features the cognate term Ostern but otherwise Germanic languages generally use the non-native term pascha for the event see below .. It is also called Vazam Vzem or Vuzem in Old Croatian which is a noun that originated from the verb vzeti now uzeti in Croatian meaning to take .
My son is 6, and my approach has been not to forbid the bunny-and-egg stuff but to leave very little TIME for it by putting the focus on religious observances. We are Episcopal, so our church offers many services during Holy Week. Also, his dad’s family is Jewish, so we go to their Passover seder which most years is during the same week. This year, we went to church 4 days in a row, walked a labyrinth (we also did this twice earlier in Lent; I told my son to walk quietly and listen to what the Holy Spirit tells him, and he took it pretty seriously), read the entire Gospel of Mark and the crucifixion and resurrection part of the other three Gospels, and talked about how every new leaf and flower can remind us to thank God for renewal of our lives and souls.
Previous years, I’ve made a little arrangement of the chocolate bunnies my mom sends, my son’s stuffed bunnies, and JESUS IS RISEN spelled out in blocks. This year I forgot until I was in bed, exhausted, and decided not to get up. My son didn’t mind. :-) He actually forgot about the candy until someone after church asked what he got for Easter! There was an egg hunt at church, and we did another small one at home (plastic eggs), but overall our time spent on candy and eggs was much less than the time spent on church, and all of us were happy about that.