Courtney and I Easter 1978

Before I got married, I worked as a Nanny for a Jewish family.  On one occasion, the father of the family asked me why Christians attach a cartoon character to what should be their most Holy celebrations.  Jews take their Holy Holidays very seriously, and this had bothered him for a long time.

My own experience with Holidays growing up was different than most.  My father is a Jew, and while he came to Christ as a young man, he still takes his heritage very seriously.  Christmas was never about Santa Clause, and was always celebrated along side Hanukkah.  Easter did not have a large emphasis on eggs and candy, out rather on Passover and Christ.

My husband Brent had a very different experience.  His parents insisted on the reality of Santa and the Easter Bunny.  When he was older and came to understand the fictional nature of what he had been taught, he also came to believe that it was extended to Jesus, and that which was taught in the liberal Lutheran Church he grew up in.  He thought that there was no truth to the stories of Jesus, but rather feel good messages on how we should live better.  When he was older, and became a Christian, understanding the truth and reality of Christ, he wanted nothing to do with Holiday associated fictional characters.

By the time we had our own children, we started out with some pretty extreme practices.  Attending a church at the time that took the regulative principle (only those elements that are instituted or appointed by command or example in the Bible are permissible in worship) very seriously.  They extended this principle into life.  As a young couple we were influenced by that thinking.

Through the years we have run into many Christian views on the matter.  I realize now that as I get older, I am uncomfortable with any extremism on any matter not outlined in Scripture.  I think this is what has kept us in recent years from taking a firm position on the matter.

So here we are.  Another Easter Celebration for the world, combined with the celebration of the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ by the Church.  And once again, no egg coloring kits in my house, or baskets for my kids to wake up to.

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  1. Thanks, Coleen. What a great article. We do not mingle paganism with our two holiest days either for just the reasons you outlined. This has been hard for some in our extended family (ie the Grandmothers). We had to go through it again this year when Charlie's mom just had to send bunny and egg window decorations to the kids (along with some flower and umbrella decorations for Spring). Ana cried when Charlie wouldn't allow her to put them up. We had to explain it all over again about paganizing the Faith.

    We did come up with a solution. We allowed her to cut the eggs into flowers and they actually turned out to be very cute.

  2. absolutely! we are in agreement with you on this, Coleen. No eggs, baskets, bunnies candies or the like here– though I grew up with it, my parents were ignorant. Now that I have been enlightened, I am held accountable for what I do with my own children. I do not want my children to think of this beautiful weekend with bunnies and eggs, which … Read Morereally is about the fertility goddess, but about our wonderful, divine Savior that died & rose so that we can be with Him for eternity. If we, as those that say they love Jesus, practice this, how are we truly different than the world?

  3. to follow up with my above comment, I think Jesus Lovers need to do their homework about some of the 'holiday's' this country celebrates……if folks truly knew the backgrounds, most would not be celebrated — if they truly are following Christ.

  4. such a good post! recently i have learned about the feasts of the Lord & i am amazed (& a bit ashamed) that i had been celebrating these Holy days in such a pagan way–but it was all we knew. (i just posted about it at my blog).

    now, having the deeper knowledge of both the history of the feasts & Jesus as the fulfillment of those it makes all of it come alive to me! I am most interested in honoring God with all of my life, even the family traditions. that is why we don't do easter baskets as well.

    the dilemma becomes what to do about those churches (like ours) that innocently enough have an easter egg hunt for the kids? what to do about the gifts & candy & easter eggs from the family members that are just being loving? we have settled on the fact that we are all a work in progress…there is grace for the learning curve.

  5. Very well said Meridith. You have mentioned exactly what I struggle with. It is a difficult thing that even as our churches choose to do something a certain way, how do we deal with it? And I am with you on this. I don't want to come across as self righteous with extreme views, so we have to be gracious and loving in whatever we do.

    And regardless of the decisions that each of us make, what is most important is a reminder to ourselves and our children about what is really important, the celebration of Christ and His work on the cross.

    There is a beauty in the significance of the feasts that were celebrated. One thing that I find interesting from the times I celebrated Passover with my Jewish family, is how each of the things they do point to Christ, and yet they are so unaware.

  6. And now for the Catholic point of view, for whatever it's worth.

    Easter is the highest Holy Day of the year. My kids fasted from candy for the entire Lenten season for an end to abortion and the conversion of our President…which is why they get candy today…….bountifully. There is nothing inherently evil about giving children candy on Easter or any other day. And it is not necessarily evil to fail to use the Easter holy day to teach your kids about the resurrection. We Catholics call the Church calender a “small t” tradition which means it isn't necessary……but it can be helpful if observed properly. We try to live every moment in Christ. The Church calendar merely helps us celebrate with the entire Church together the same teachings at the same time. Still, most parents, I think, do not have proper observation of this holy day. If a child understands the Gospel in its fullness, candy on Easter isn't going to detract from it. But if a child knows about “the Easter bunny” and not Christ,…..that truly makes me want to vomit.

    Our highest responsibility as parents is to teach the Gospel to our children. Everything else is secondary. “Secondary” is not the same as “evil”…….but it is second………..and not even a close second.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  7. I think some commenting are taking your post further than what you intended. Since you've said, “I am uncomfortable with any extremism on any matter not outlined in scripture.”

    We don't do Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, because for one thing we didn't want to bend over backwards trying to convince our kids to believe in something that simply wasn't true. We do exchange gifts, have a Christmas tree, and have Easter baskets. Is that the focus of the holidays for us? Absolutely not. It is Christ and Christ alone.

    I guess I would caution those who would be tempted to look down at Christians who do have Easter baskets, etc… don't go there. It is self-righteousness and legalism.

    I think a good study into 1 Corinthians 8 would be helpful. The bottom line is we have liberty. Easter baskets are not prohibited. Many of our traditions are not prohibited. If it becomes all about that, and not about Jesus then there is a problem. Let's just not paint people with the label “that they are not truly following Christ” if they do thus and so – when Scripture is silent.

    So in Christ we are free to do Easter baskets and we are free not to do them as well.

  8. You said “I guess I would caution those who would be tempted to look down at Christians who do have Easter baskets, etc… don't go there. It is self-righteousness and legalism.”

    Amen, Amen and Amen.

    There are so many extreme vies out there, it gets ugly sometimes.

    Have a good Easter Shane.

  9. I'm with Shane … we don't do any of the fantasy characters because it's not worth the effort to pretend.

    We treat Santa Claus as a game. The kids know about the name, and see it as a game that families play of pretending that things come from him. That does probably mean that my somewhat-of-a-know-it-all 12-year-old told every other kid he could the secret, but … deal with the truth.

    As for the Easter Bunny, I have no use for him, and none of the games fit into our Easter day, anyway. We don't bother. I have no objection to a bunny-shaped piece of chocolate, but we certainly don't pretend that it came from a large rodent breaking into the house to drop off stuff.

  10. O.K. I will admit that at our house we do Santa and the Easter bunny, kind of. Christmas is a time when we talk about how we should give, give, give to others and my kids understand that. We also have birthday cake, with candles and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. Also, if you watch the original “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” They explain that Santa picked the most special day of the year to deliver his gifts, very well thought out, so we watch that movie every year and talk about the differences.

    About Easter, we get baskets when we wake up I don't really say that they come from the Easter Bunny and no one has really brought it up. The girls also know that mom and dad hide the eggs for the hunt and we do it as a fun game because we are so happy that Jesus rose from the dead.

    I really feel that if you stress with your kids the real meaning of holidays that they do understand. I want my kids to understand that these a joyfull times of the year and if some candy and gifts make them a little more joyful what is the problem? Personally it just isn't Easter for mom without a Cadburry Cream Egg, yum! 🙂

  11. Agreed Eileen. I think each family needs to do whatever they want, Christian Liberty in this. And I have to say, the best candy comes out at Easter.

  12. You have a know it all 12 year old too? Must come with the age. Now my 8 year old has been telling all his friends the truth about Santa.

    Funny thing is, when my kids loose a tooth, they still get money under their pillows. Then they tell their friends that their Mom is the tooth fairy.

  13. Our kids are the same way with the tooth fairy. Though my youngest seems like she wants to revert back and believe that it isn't her mom. Trying to figure that one out.

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