The Christian world is very focused right now and getting ready for Easter, eager to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Indeed, this historic event is extremely worthy of our attention and celebration. In fact, Easter—or Resurrection Sunday, as some prefer to call it—is more important than Christmas, for Christmas gets its value because there’s an Easter/Resurrection Sunday!
So, where are all the Easter decorations and events that help us focus on this most momentous occasion? Christmas in the US is basically on everyone’s mind for at least one month minimum, and the overwhelming variety of decorations alone contribute to that mindset and the anticipation. Why doesn’t that same electrifying ambiance happen at Easter?
Of course, there are Easter decorations, but to where do they guide our focus? For far too long, Easter décor has consisted of colored eggs, bunny rabbits and little chicks, and Spring flowers.
Sure, one can argue that these things represent new life, which is definitely a Christian theme resulting from Jesus’s death and resurrection. But others also like to say they’re nothing more than representatives of pagan fertility goddesses! At the very least, eggs and baby animals simply symbolize the cycle of life and natural instincts God gave to all animals.
And yes, there are Easter events as well. While the lengthy anticipation of Christmas has been largely the result of commercialism, Easter’s anticipatory time comes from the Church’s ancient practice of Lent, a 40-day event preceding Resurrection Sunday. Fortunately, an increasing number of non-liturgical denominations are embracing this soul-searching season along with other liturgical practices like Good Friday services and even Maundy Thursday Stations of the Cross walks. There are also the sunrise services and Easter Cantatas or plays. And when you add in Palm Sunday, the Christian church has an extremely busy week!
But notice that all this activity, other than Lent, takes place at the church’s sanctuary or some other place … that’s NOT your home. And even though Lent could be said to take place in your homes, it is largely a very personal/private practice of soul-searching and spiritual disciplines—so much so that the rest of your family may not even be aware of your participation. So, unless you do a Lenten practice as a family, like having fish every Friday or doing a charitable work as a group, Lent alone is not helping you celebrate Christ’s resurrection in your home in any manner similar to how we do Christmas.
As a passionate lover of Jesus, this breaks my heart. The dearth of quality Jesus-focused Easter décor in my home literally brought me to tears!
What could I do?! Resurrection Sunday is truly the most important holiday (holy-day) in all of Christendom, and its themes of hope, new life, and life after death should stir up such tremendous excitement that every believer should be as giddy as any child is at Christmas! This is the time to surround ourselves with festal décor that keeps our minds focused on this glorious event!
But all I had were some ceramic bunnies and painted eggs. Aaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!
Despondent, I turned to my family for ideas, for insight into what was important to them. We all quickly agreed that the large ostrich egg we had drained and painted in a manner to symbolically tell the Easter story was a keeper. So, that was a good start.
My daughter started talking about how Easter does seem to be more activity oriented for Christians than decoration oriented. As she listed off activities, she recalled a tradition we had done with her to help her learn that Easter isn’t really about the Easter Bunny and plastic eggs filled with candy hidden around waiting to be found. She mentioned it casually, as though everybody does this tradition. All she said was “finding the empty Easter egg.”
Suddenly, my mind filled with the whole context. What she was referring to is an application I created from a moving story I had read years before she was even born.
Way back in April 1988, Focus on the Family opened their print magazine with the story of 12-year-old boy in a second-grade class. Despite his severe physical and mental challenges, he taught a powerful lesson to both his teacher and classmates.
His teacher thought he had misunderstood the class assignment to fill a plastic egg with something showing signs of new life. While other students brought in things like a rock with moss or a small flower, his egg was empty.
Not wanting to embarrass him, the teacher started to quietly set his egg aside, but he insisted she talk about his egg just like she’d done with the others. What else could she say but “your egg is empty!” To which he replied, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty, too!”
Despite his limited mental capacity, he had understood very well when she had told the class the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. When this perceptive 12-year-old second grader died a few months later, his coffin was filled with—you guessed it—empty plastic eggs.
That story so deeply affected me that more than 10 years later, I started including an empty plastic egg into our daughter’s Easter egg hunts. It was treated as a special thing to find and created the opportunity to tell her again of what Easter really means to us.
It obviously made a strong impression, for it’s been a long time since we did an Easter egg hunt with her, yet my now-grown daughter had no problem recalling that little effort to keep Jesus at the center of the holiday.
All she said was “finding the empty Easter egg.”
Suddenly, my mind filled with the whole context.
Immediately, I knew what to do. I figured out an Easter decoration that thrills me to look at because it clearly reminds me of why we even have this holiday and why we celebrate it. This is decoration that I expect to never begrudge storing, pulling out and setting up, or even putting away!
I won’t bore you with the details of how I put it together, but it is rather ironic that in my attempt to avoid Easter eggs, I ended up buying a big one! I bought what was readily available and, with some craft scraps I had, turned that pagan (at worst)/commercial (at best) symbol into a festive home decoration for what’s truly important to me.
In other words, I redeemed it. And that, my friend, is another great theme of the Christian Easter holiday worth celebrating!
Thanks for reading!
(By the way, how do you celebrate Easter? Seriously, share your ideas and traditions with me!)
 Notice I say “largely” not “wholly”, for Christmas does have its own Christian anticipatory time known as Advent. But Advent is not what pushes Christmas excitement back up the calendar to the point of crowding out other holidays; that responsibility falls solely on commercialism.