I have to admit, after this round of egg jokes and egg related fun, my brain is a little fried. I’m not egg-actly done with egg jokes, but I’ve gotten it out of my system for the year.
Perhaps it was the hard-boiled state of my brain that made it hard, but the other day when my kids asked me
Mommy, why does Jesus like eggs and bunnies so much?
I really struggled to answer them. A lot of thoughts flitted through my scrambled brain, but giving my boys a thoughtful and honest answer they could understand required me to sit down in my thoughtful spot and have a good think.
Y’all should know this isn’t the first time I’ve waxed philosophical about Easter stuff. Last year, I was sharing a crisis about chocolate crosses and Jesus cookies. It’s a long read, but the struggle was (and is) real.
Google didn’t help.
I mean, it did, but it didn’t. Yes, Google yielded some well written articles detailing the history of our current Easter traditions. It yielded beautiful photos of eggs from around the world, speculative articles on how the church claimed pagan customs, and dry academic pieces on cultural anthropology.
But Google didn’t give me an answer.
Because Google couldn’t.
Google can give me some context, but it can’t give me a personal answer about what I believe. It can’t explain why our family has unthinkingly adopted a tradition. It can’t explain why so many people are more excited about biting the ears off a chocolate bunny than they are about Easter Sunday.
Eggs and Bunnies aren’t exactly Biblical.
The Bible is remarkable silent on eggs and bunnies (just as it is on Christmas trees, creches, and gift wrap). My kids go to a Christian school. They’re familiar enough with the Bible to KNOW that there wasn’t an Easter bunny or eggs or chocolate mentioned in the Easter story.
(OK, technically there are a few verses on eggs. Careful examination might even lead you to conclude that the eggs are symbolic. But still.)
At our school Easter parties today, there will be no bunnies. They’ll tolerate eggs and even baby chicks, but there is an official bunny ban. It’s there to keep the kids focused on Jesus instead of giant Easter baskets and all-you-can-eat candy. Apparently, it’s working. It’s got my kids asking hard questions.
Eggs are symbolic.
Eggs represent new life. Each one of them contains (theoretically) a new baby that emerges from a dark place to be born.
Easter represents new life. It is because of what happened at Easter that we have the chance to emerge from a dark place to be born anew.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 1 Peter 1:23
To a certain extent, baby chickens and bunnies represent the same thing. Cute baby animals of any species could serve to represent the fact that we are a new creation.
We decorate to celebrate. Decorating eggs is what makes them special and shows us that they’re not just generic breakfast eggs.
Bunnies are fun.
Yes, I could make a stretch and tell my kids that walking around looking for hidden eggs is to remind them of the garden Jesus prayed in… or the walk through the garden to get to the empty tomb.
My kids know perfectly well how the whole thing works. I disappear out the back door with a box. Seconds later, their dad distracts them and keeps them upstairs away from the windows while they check the smoke detectors and climb ladders. They get interrupted by the doorbell ringing. Seconds later, I walk back into the back door looking slightly out of breath and without the box.
I’m pretty sure my kids know that I’m the one that hides the eggs.
So after I emerged from my thoughtful spot, I told my kids the truth.
The truth about eggs and bunnies…
… and Jesus too.
I told them
some of what happens at Easter is to help us remember the meaning of the season (the rebirth part), some of what happens is to celebrate (the decorate part), and a good deal of it is because it’s fun.
The fun part is ok, because Jesus enjoys a good party. (Go look up the Wedding at Cana if you don’t believe me. Or ask my kids, they came up with several other bible stories to support the idea.)
When the boys were toddlers, they insisted that we wear birthday party hats on Christmas Eve… because it was a big birthday party for Jesus. A few months later, we wore birthday party hats again at Easter… because it was Jesus’ second birthday. (Jesus was considered awesome and lucky just because he got TWO birthday parties a year.)
Even though my boys have outgrown the desire to wear birthday hats and decorate with balloons and streamers, they can still appreciate a good party. They decided that there wasn’t a huge difference between biting the ears off a chocolate bunny and whacking a piñata until the candy comes out.
For now, my answer was good enough. It’s not perfect… but it’s true.
What do you tell your kids?