Yesterday my wife and I went to an area mall. The large Stonebriar Center was teeming with people; it was the last weekend of Spring Break and the multitudes were out. There were kids everywhere. Families were shopping Spring sales. Kiosks are jammed with goods. It was a great day for commerce in North Texas. Except if you are the Easter Bunny.
An Easter display was set up in the highest traffic area of the mall. A white knee-hi picket fence formed the boundary of a artificial turf garden festooned with colorful flowers and ribbons. A lattice arbor was erected and covered with green vines and purple flowers (also artificial). Also fake were the giant butterflies that had been hot glued to the arbor. And under its arch sat the Easter Bunny. A photographer was stationed a few yards away. The intent was to have children line up for a picture with the Easter Bunny. (Does he even have a name?) Just a few months ago Santa was sitting in the same area of the mall. He had lines of kids ready for their Christmas photo. Now, the Easter Bunny couldn’t attract even one single child. Every parent wants their child’s picture with Santa. The Easter Bunny flops.
Why? Isn’t Easter a bigger deal? Shouldn’t it be? Doesn’t the Resurrection trump Christmas in theological weight? Paul thought so: “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:17)
Here is the truth about the Easter Bunny: He can’t handle the truth. In fact, all the secular modern symbols of this season are too light-weight; they totally miss the point of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is not about Spring because Spring is a seasonal cycle. It is not about caterpillars becoming beautiful butterflies because butterflies die again. It is not about the fertility of bunnies or the symbol of hope that is an Easter Egg. All these are natural things. They are wonderful but they are not unique.
But the Resurrection of Jesus is a total surprise. There is nothing natural about it. It is super-natural. It is a total new, never-before-happened event in human history. The Resurrection is about God doing a totally new thing in Christ. Jesus died and was raised to eternal life to NEVER DIE AGAIN. A new order of life was established by God in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; and He is the new Adam for this new creation. As Bonhoeffer said, “After (His) death something new begins, over which all powers of the world of death have no more might.”
I felt sorry for the Easter Bunny. He really did look all alone. And he was. If the mall marketing team really wanted to put up a symbol that was able to bear the weight of the holiday, they might try an empty cross. The Cross is the ultimate symbol of the Resurrected Lord. Jesus took the worst of the world’s evil and sin and bore it on a cross…but God raised him up to a New Life. The Cross of Christ is the greatest symbol of hope known to humanity.
Can you imagine the mall that might erect a Cross and offer to take children’s picture next to its timbers? Neither can I. That is why we can’t turn to the secular world to show our children the truth. We must teach them the facts and the truth about the single most important event in human history
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