I had several people stop me the last few weeks and ask if I would again share the origin of the word “Easter.” So here it goes.
It comes from “Eastre,” which was the name of some pagan goddess of spring. It seems that second century Christian missionaries took over the holiday that the pagans used to celebrate Eastre since it was about the same time the Christians celebrated the resurrection of Christ.
The general idea was for Christians to be able to celebrate at the same time as the pagans and gradually to convert more pagans over to Christianity.
Over time, the spelling was changed to “Easter” and became the holiday we know now. OK, so where does the Easter Bunny come into this? You’ve probably guessed it by now. The bunny was the symbol for “Eastre” the pagan goddess. Easter eggs also have a pagan origin; they represent fertility. Go Figure.
I think it is important for us to imprint on our children what Easter means for us as Christians. I believe this can be done without having to give up Easter eggs, Easter baskets and other “traditional” stuff.
After all, our Heavenly Father created the bunnies, chicks and eggs. It is how we choose to use them that make them “bad.”
In our home, we focus on worship first and all the other Easter stuff second. We do not have huge Easter baskets at our home. We do have baskets, but they are just not the focus of our day.
Easter baskets can have items that turn a child’s attention back to Christ. Some examples would be a small chain with a cross on it, a book about the true meaning of Easter, an Easter coloring book depicting the Christian Easter, plastic eggs with simple Easter scriptures or items that depict the story of Easter (see http://msssbible.com/miscellaneous/easter.htm for ideas).
Another way to use eggs is to talk about how sin stains us as we dye them. And just as we can’t remove the dye from the egg, we can’t remove the sin from our hearts, only Jesus can do that. Use a crayon to write “Easter” messages on them (Jesus Saves, Born Again, He Is Risen, etc.). Eggs also can represent the new life the tomb holds for everyone. (From “Let’s Make a Memory”)
There are so many ideas for Easter I cannot possibly share all of them with you. However, I do want to share a couple of my favorites. The first one is on the Internet site, http://www.annieshomepage.com/holiday.html. Annie hasn’t updated her site in a couple years. However, most of her ideas are timeless and worth sharing. She has a wonderful poem called the “Jelly Bean Prayer.” It reads: Red is for the blood He gave. Green is for the grass He made. Yellow is for the sun so bright. Orange is for the edge of night. Black is for the sins we made. White is for the Grace He gave. Purple is for the hour of sorrow. Pink is for the new tomorrow. This is a fun to put one color jellybean in a plastic egg with a slip of paper saying what that color represents. Another idea this site has is to change the name from “Easter Sunday” to “Resurrection Sunday.” Annie’s page also has a wonderful recipe called “Resurrection Cookies.” I have not tried them because they have nuts in them and I’m allergic to nuts. Nevertheless, they sound terrific.
Another Easter site I like is http://peggiesplace.gospelcom.net/easter1.htm. It not only has some very good ideas, but it also has some wonderful stories related to Easter, as well as devotionals.
I think one of the most important aspects of any holiday is spending time with your children and creating memories with them. There is a wonderful book written by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson called, “Let’s Make a Memory.” I love this book. It has simple ideas that have lasting impressions like the Easter message eggs I mentioned above.
I hope you have a Blessed Easter.