Jim Denison on What Does the Bible Say About Easter?

Easter is the highest, holiest of holidays for Christians around the world.

We celebrate Jesus’ victory over death and believers’ ultimate salvation because of his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our sin. When we accept Jesus as Lord, we stand cloaked in his blood, righteous before God, and we are declared innocent. We have eternal life in heaven because of the price he paid and the victory he won.

But, like the secularized Christmas holiday, nonreligious elements have found their way into our Easter celebrations, and many who observe it have no idea of its true meaning.

Much of the celebration these days depicts white bunnies and colorful eggs. In the northern hemisphere, it is spring. The warmth is returning and flowers are blooming. It’s a time of renewal and anticipation of the outdoors.

For most Christians, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. But many modern-day, less-than-biblical Easter traditions have crept into its observance in western culture. The most popular cultural symbol of this holiday, the Easter Bunny, was likely introduced by the German immigrants who brought their stories of an egg-laying hare with them. Even further back historically, the decoration of eggs at Easter is believed to date back to the thirteenth century or earlier.

Why do we celebrate with the Easter Bunny? 

The Easter Bunny has become a prevalent symbol of the springtime Easter holiday. Of course, the Bible makes no mention of any creature who delivers decorated eggs to children on Easter Sunday. So why has it become the prominent symbol of Easter in the US?

No one is completely sure, but rabbits are an ancient symbol of procreation and new life. As stated, the Easter Bunny may have first arrived in America with German immigrants. Their children made nests in which this creature could lay colorful eggs. Over time, the custom spread across the US. Easter morning deliveries by the fabled rabbit expanded to include chocolate and other candies and gifts. Today, decorated baskets replace nests.

Why do we celebrate with Easter eggs?

Easter eggs are sometimes said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb. But Easter eggs are generally linked to more pagan traditions. The egg is an ancient symbol of new life in many cultures. It has often been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring.

Decorating eggs for Easter dates back to at least the thirteenth century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were once a restricted food during Lent. So people would sometimes paint and decorate them to celebrate the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them at a celebration on Easter day.

White Easter lilies are the unofficial flower of Easter celebrations in the United States. They symbolize the purity of Christ for many Christians and are commonly seen in churches and homes around Easter. Their growth, from dormant bulbs in the ground to flowers, symbolizes the rebirth and hope of Christ’s resurrection.

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SOURCE: Denison Forum, Jim Denison