Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No more fluffy bunny.

Yesterday on my afternoon walk I passed a home that had taken Easter decorating to a new level. In every tree, hanging from every branch was an egg. I thought about stopping to count them, but quickly disregarded the idea because I knew by egg 8 I would begin to question if I had counted the one to the right or left of the last one I accounted for.

Seeing all of the bright and fun decorations took me back to when I grew up, celebrating the idea that a big white fluffy bunny would come to my home and visit. But not only would it come and visit, it would leave a big basket of presents, AND hide a bunch of eggs around the house full of candy AND money. I mean heck, sometimes I thought about writing Santa, telling him that he needed to up his game.

But not only did the Easter bunny come and visit, my mim bought me a beautiful new dress with a matching hat and gloves! EVERY YEAR. Gosh, life was good back then, and it continued in the same way for my younger sister and brother. But for them it got even better than presents, candy, and money. Friends of my parents who own an airplane would fly to our home, then fly directly over our house and drop candy for all our neighbors, friends and family. Who needs an Easter egg hunt when someone will drop candy from the sky? Well as cool and fun as it all sounds, it all changed this year.

If you had followed the old Tay Talk, then the introduction of my younger brother is not needed. However, if you are new, then let me brief you. Cooper, my brother, is autistic. Yet, he is high functioning and gets along pretty well. He lacks in common sense and doesn't understand that things only need to be said once. His repetitiveness began from the moment he spoke and shows no sign of letting up any time soon.

Well as most things go, Cooper began to remind my mim that the Easter bunny was coming soon. Upon the umpteenth time of mentioning this my dad decided to inform him that the Easter bunny got hit by a car and wouldn't be coming anymore. Yes, my mim and I thought the very same thing you are now, but that was thought well after we all had a good laugh. Not to worry though,  mim quickly cleared the air and explained that the Easter bunny stopped coming when you reached the age of 11. This explanation settled well with Cooper and he has now moved away from the existence of the big white fluffy animal who brings a basket full of presents.

Now let me explain that neither excuse of the Easter bunny dead by car or age was to be cruel and unusual. It was to simply put a stop to the world view on what Easter is about in my parents home. What does a big fluffy bunny have anything to do with the death and Resurrection of Jesus? What does hanging Easter eggs from a tree represent of Jesus's death and Resurrection? Better yet, what does a brightly dyed egg with glitter and stamps have to do with Jesus's death and Resurrection?

Nothing.

The past two weeks have been a time of devotion, prayer and reflection for the big guy and myself. The meaning of Easter has taken on a completely different meaning over the last few years. Putting direct focus and thought toward what the holiday we celebrate truly represents.

But oh, it's fine that we buy our children new Easter dresses and suits, they're so cute! Oh, what's really wrong with an Easter egg hunt? Come on now, the Easter bunny doesn't hurt anyone, or do anything wrong? What's the big deal? Everyone knows the true meaning of Easter, so there is nothing wrong with some fun egg dying, or Easter basket surprises?

Isn't it funny, the excuses we make?

And yet as I've come to fully comprehend the life of Jesus, why He came as the Lamb of God, why he was hung on a cross to die, and then resurrected--the excuses become less funny and more insulting.

Because while growing up we did go to church and my mom did always have an empty Easter egg that represented the empty tomb from where Jesus arose from, did we truly put our Faith to practice?

Did we truly celebrate Easter?

Did I let the Easter bunny trump God?

I can imagine my answer, before coming to Christ would have sounded like this... 

No. But...celebrating Easter with presents and candy is something I grew up with. Yes, I know the true meaning of the holiday but I don't see anything wrong with doing it how everyone else does.

And I look at that and see how blind I truly was.  

Jesus came, He was mocked, and crucified for you and I. So that we would be made clean. So that we would be set free from sin. Isaiah 53

I invite you to put away the baskets, do away with coloring eggs and put the focus on Him and the selfless act he did for you and I.

Here is the song that I have played repeatedly everyday.

Turn up the volume. Close your eyes and listen to the words spoken to you. May it bless you.




Christ Has Risen by Matt Maher
 1 Chorinthians 15: 55-57

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love

And bled for us
Freely You've bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but Heaven's will
No scheme of Hell, no scoffer's crown

No burden great can hold You down

In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Rise up from the grave 


Lord God,

The celebration of Your sons resurrection is drawing near and I pray with every fiber of my body that everyone would do away with their traditions, do away with their baskets, and put all focus on where it needs to be. Thank you is an understatement of what you did for us. Your mercy and love reigns down and I thank you for all that you have blessed us with. May we always draw near you in remembrance of who You are and how great you truly are.


Amen.

6 comments:

starnes family said...

I absolutely see your reasoning behind your choices and certainly respect them.

And, while I've never entirely understood the Bunny thing, I do see an egg representing new life and Christ.

We participate in all parts of Easter......those mentioned here and more......but still provide our children with the reason behind it all. Not our retailers' reasoning.......but ours and how Christ lives through us, given his sacrifices.

Great view point as always.....I enjoy these posts of yours!

la petite coquine said...

Because this is something that's been incredibly important in my Easter experiences, I felt compelled to share: the egg was a Pagan tradition adopted by early Christians as a celebration of new life, and by extension, the resurrection of Christ. In the Orthodox Church, we still dye our eggs red to represent the blood of Christ shed during Holy Week, and crack the eggs to symbolize his resurrection from the tomb.

MissCaron said...

I have been away a while... and first, I want to say, that I love Matt Maher... especially that song! I just got home from the Maundy Thursday service (held tonight since we're having an Easter service tomorrow in addition to the weekend) and it truly was the first time that I walked away a complete wreck. Different than the times I've walked away a complete wreck in that I truly cannot wrap my head around this sacrifice. We are truly not worthy and yet He loved us SO MUCH that He sent His Son to die for us. Who had no sin to become sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. AMAZING.

I'm so thankful that you will continue to write and be more authentic. I know it's something I struggle with. God will use you in amazing ways. As for the main point of this post, we always had fun with Easter as we have fun with Christmas... knowing full well that the secular activities have nothing to do with the true meaning of it all. However, I won't stop with tradition because it always takes a back seat. The moment it becomes more important than the message is the moment that I will quit.

CHRIST IS RISEN!

Carly said...

i love the reminder and think most holidays have become a series of meaningless activities instead of focusing on the religious importance and impact.

i often wonder how i'll balance this when i have kids and am curious how you balance focusing on the religious importance while still creating some 'fun' traditions with your kids? any thoughts?

Tay Talk said...

While I have heard of the egg being a representation of new life, I personally have to go back to the Word and see that there needs not be any type of representation because He himself represents new life, and never is an egg mentioned or needed because of that.

I know that people will continue on with their traditions and fun. However in this post I truly wanted to set the circular world apart from that of the true meaning. So thank you for input, I appreciate those that take the time and read.

Carly- It was funny because my mim called me last night and said, 'but what if I want to buy the tiny girl or boy an Easter dress or suit?' and I said, 'well, then you can call it a new spring dress or suit.' And she agreed that, that sounded great!

There are wonderful traditions that can be brought into a home that are centered on Jesus and the true meaning of the holiday. One in particular that I hope to have with our children is a Easter Sun Rise Service. The first one I went to was at Utah State on the hillside. It's a beautiful event where you come together, sing a few praise and worship songs, read the story of Jesus's death and resurrection, all while watching the sun rise. Everyone is wrapped in a blanket and some bring coffee or hot chocolate to enjoy throughout.

And while someday we may have our own, for now my parents hold a dinner later in the day, open to anyone who needs a place to go. We give praise and thanks to God, all the while continuing the day in fellowship.

Nothing big and fancy, yet all the while memorable and focused on what Jesus did.

Carly said...

i love those ideas. i think it's so important to clearly teach our children that easter isn't about the eggs or fluffy white bunny -- it's about our Savior and His resurrection -- but it's still possible to do some of the fun 'worldly traditions' to celebrate spring rather than using them as a way to celebrate easter.