Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter bunnies, jelly beans and eggs made new....

Yesterday morning, I was getting Benjamin up to his wheelchair and Cate was right there with me, anxious to see if the Easter Bunny had paid a visit. She opened the curtains in her brothers' room and sitting right outside the window, on our little front "perch" was the sweetest white-tailed bunny, looking so much like he was darting from inside our house that we all just stopped what we were doing and watched him. (Ok, then I tore through the house for my camera and returned to see his little self hopping away...)

Can you see the little guy? Right in the middle of the photo??

All week my news feed on Facebook had been inundated with posts about Easter being so much more than about the bunny. And oh my goodness, that is the absolute truth. Easter is a celebration of our RISEN savior; a celebration of an empty tomb; a celebration of death being defeated when Jesus rose from the dead.

And while I would never want to confuse anyone about the real meaning of this holiday, I have to say that I, frankly, love the Easter Bunny. I also love dyeing eggs and eating jelly beans (you already knew that) and a church filled with lovely spring dresses. Easter is a celebration of new life for Jesus and for us, IN and THROUGH Jesus and sweet little bunny represents just that.

Unadorned, our eggs were waiting for new life...

When I was little, we didn't make a huge deal out of a lot of holidays -- you know we wore green on St. Patrick's Day; we bought a box of Valentine's to give our friends; we had a cookout on the 4th of July -- but Christmas and Easter were different. As a little bitty girl, before I understood the depth of what Easter meant, I knew it was bigger than the other holidays. It was big like Christmas was big. I KNEW this because it was the ONLY other time of the year -- besides Christmas -- that I went to sleep and woke up to a few lovely surprises.

Do not misunderstand. The basket was not filled with huge gifts -- the Easter Bunny usually brought me a spring outfit and some new shoes....and a little candy, of course. But the celebration -- the waking up to see what that bunny had brought -- set the day apart when my brain was too young to comprehend more. And so when the connection was made. When I realized the amazing gift we received on Easter was so much more than goodies in a basket, it made perfect sense that this would be a BIG holiday.

Cate made one egg to look like a Tardis -- a Dr. Who reference for her brothers!

We seem to be living in an age of extremes. An age where some groups call for an end to dressing up at Halloween, visits from the Easter Bunny and instead telling our children the hard facts of life early and loudly. While other groups want us to celebrate every single holiday extravagantly -- leprechauns hiding gifts throughout the house; Valentine treats that require a 20-people assembly line.


Fancy, over-indulgent, extravagance is not what I am talking about here. I am simply saying that Jesus called the little children unto him. He loved them and did not force them to grow up and accept the hard facts of life; but rather urged us to be like them in our faith, trusting, loving and accepting of each other.

Loved the "All things new" egg...

Perhaps when I get to Heaven, He will reprimand me for allowing the Easter Bunny to stop by my house. But I don't think so. I think celebrating little children, helping them to piece the beauty of NEW LIFE in a way that is joy-filled, fun and innocent is exactly what He would want us to do.

Jesus died on the cross. He was buried. He rose again on the third day -- defeating death so that WE might have life to the fullest. So that we could have everlasting life with Him in heaven.

In a world filled with darkness, pain and so much suffering, I think the new life of a bunny, the new beauty of freshly-dyed Easter eggs and the joy of sharing it all as a family, is exactly how we should celebrate.

He is risen. He is risen indeed!!

Praying this morning that you are filled with the spirit of the resurrection -- and maybe a few jelly beans too boot!