Posted April 4, 2010
When I thought about Easter, I remembered my childhood traditions - a lot of them pagan. The Easter bunny was supposed to come because I'd set out my Easter basket with fake plastic grass the night before in preparation for his visit. There was always a day of dyeing boiled eggs with the smell of vinegar permeating the kitchen. The anticipation of being left a chocolate bunny ran high and of course, I couldn't wait to don my new Easter outfit with white gloves and at long last, white shoes. It was the day winter was set aside for the promise of all things budding beautiful and new.
The rose trellis next to the front porch harbored red rose buds mother clipped to pin on my new spring coat or dress. There was usually a purple or pink baby chick or duckling running around - horror of horrors to think a live animal was dye-dunked to be sold on a holiday to celebrate Jesus's death and resurrection. When the dye wore off, it was another plain ol' white duck or chicken.
But then, there was the awesome part. Sunrise service. While it was still dark we piled into the car to drive downtown to watch the sun rise and to hear a preacher explaining the miraculous resurrection of Jesus.
At six, I was too young to tie it all together - the dyed eggs, the purple and pink baby chicks which represented new birth for those who didn't know or believe God's promises in Isaiah 53: "Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering...but He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed...He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth...He was assigned a grave with the wicked...yet it was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer..."
The book of Isaiah was written between 740-647 B.C., several hundred years before Christ was born and Isaiah contains more prophecies about the Messiah than any other book in the Old Testament.
One interesting verse was Isaiah 2:6 "You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East, they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.
When Christianity swept across the land, people did not want to give up their long-held traditions and forms of worship so they combined pagan beliefs with the story of Jesus - His crucifixion death and resurrection and His remembrance during communion.
Later, the eggs, the chocolate bunnies and the pink and purple chicks and ducklings became big American business. All of the aforementioned could be eaten to satisfy my hunger for the short term. But what about the long term?
I decided that clasping hands with the Easter bunny wasn't going to get me anywhere. Neither was I going places with a purple chicken. And if it walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, it probably was a duck and couldn't save me.
The things that were prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus was born actually happened and were witnessed by thousands and recorded by several. If Jesus's own brothers doubted he was the Savior, but then changed their minds because of what they witnessed, surely I could accept Jesus as my Savior on faith and know for certain that one day, I too would live again. It was the promise of all things budding beautiful and new and without one quack to it.