I had a Muslim friend once joke that if Islam takes the turn Christianity has taken, they will be having Abu Claus and the Eid bunny. I laughed because that actually is the funny truth about how we Christians behave, but when the laughter ceases, is this really how we want our religion to appear? The two main holidays in the Christian faith, Christmas and Easter, have become retail holidays, with the stores making millions and our children anticipating Santa and the Easter bunny, who both come bearing gifts. The problem with this is the old slide-of-hand trick- if you’re anticipating something, you won’t notice what is really happening.
When I think back to past Easters as a child, I remember the same key elements- floral dresses, colored eggs, chocolate and the Easter bunny. Of course I knew about Jesus’ passion and about his resurrection, but in our society, that aspect of Easter serves as the backdrop. Although that contention is an opinion, one would be hard pressed to prove it wrong. Even for this article, I researched online to see if any studies or surveys have been conducted to determine if children associate Christian holidays with religion, or material items, but I could not find anything. In fact, searching this specific question only rendered thousands of articles and websites about Easter baskets, eggs, toys, and decorations- all material goods.
When customers see retail employees stocking holiday items months in advance, they mutter to themselves or outloud, “here’s just another holiday you have to buy for. Easter stuff already?” Wow, now that’s enthusiam for the celebrating the glorious resurrection of our risen Lord and savior. But scoffing at the sight of the same mass-produced holiday garbage is certainly understandable when you live in a society that pressures you to spend so much money every time you turn around. How Christian are we being when so many people who usually do not steal, are stealing around Christmas time to give their children “a good Christmas,” or we are scoffing because we feel we have to buy a two foot bunny and several dozen packages of plastic eggs?
You are not under any obligation to do more than be a good parent, teach your children about our faith and about Jesus Christ- his teachings, life and second coming and put a little warm food in their bellies. This pressure in our society to spend money is getting out of hand. Not only are we teaching our children that our most celebrated holidays in our faith are about getting “stuff,” we are spending money on useless stuff, that is mostly made overseas, when we should be giving it to charity and feeding the poor. It is ironic that our society of Christians choose to celebrate the life and death of Christ, who told us to store our treasures in Heaven, and warned us about materialism and money, by making materialism our children’s religious traditions and spending money on stuff our children don’t need, or even care about, while many in the world go hungry. This year when you talk about Easter with your children, get them excited about Jesus Christ- not “the Easter bunny.”