Guest Blog by Rev. Steve Butler, Associate Pastor, Balboa Baptist Church
When our children were growing up, my wife would signal the approach of Easter by making her annual pilgrimage to the store to procure candy for the kids’ Easter baskets. Not wanting her husband to feel left out, she would buy me a delicious white chocolate bunny. No, we were not modern devotees of ancient fertility rites. We all knew the real meaning of Easter and were grateful for our Lord’ sacrifice and resurrection for us.
Today, chocolate eggs, bunnies, and marshmallow chicks resting on a bed of artificial grass mean spring has come, Easter is here and candy is great. The pagans of former times viewed the rabbits and eggs as symbols of fertility and abundance of life that came in the springtime. After the deaths of the apostles and the patristic fathers who followed them, the Christian church gave these pagan symbols Christian meanings to move new converts out of a pagan worldview. Spring green still meant the renewal of God’s creation after the dormancy of winter. Rabbits represented new birth and the replenishment of the species (God’s command to multiply). Chicks hatching out of their eggshells depicted the resurrection of Christ out of the tomb.
Even though these symbols can be great teaching tools for children, I prefer the traditional symbols that mean so much: the Last Supper with the twelve disciples; the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ’s arrest; the Crown of Thorns and mockery by the Roman soldiers; the Cross and Jesus’ sacrificial death for all people; the Empty tomb and the angelic declaration, “He is risen! He is not here.” As I think of these events, I rehearse the truths of the Easter story one more time and I am moved with the same depth of emotion that I have experienced every Easter.
Symbols are important, but they are not substitutes for decisions and actions. Christ’s claims call for acceptance, trust and commitment. If you have not responded to the claims of Christ, I hope you will examine them and believe.
So, enjoy the Easter candy and think of the sweetness of the Lord Jesus Christ!
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