Reflecting On Easter Through the Eyes of My Children (Hopefully Future Disciples)

As part of the nature of this blog, I like to look back as much as I can … with my best effort of not boring you. The nature of blogging is to respond to the now, the what just happened, and if possible, the what next? Part of me is drawn to this as I feel it’s not only my temperament to opinionate and participate in conversation but your blog stats are certainly helped by being among the first. This is the Ricky Bobby philosophy of blogging “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

Though this week has shown no shortage of topics to jump in on another part of me feels otherwise. The problem for me anyway, is not only do many of these posts come across as premature but I end up actually resenting some of them within a few weeks. I can handle the changing my mind part, but this social media vehicle is not as conducive as I would like. I struggle with the adding to the hype and not being able to pull back from it. It’s different than sitting down with a friend over coffee and saying, “It’s funny, last week when we sat here, I thought that now I think I’ve changed my mind to this…”

Further (and getting closer to beginning my point ;) – I am ever-concerned with the consumption of religious-experience. This week I’ve been caught up in wondering if even with Lent, has our observance/celebration of Easter moved too fast? I’m glad that our Lenten/Easter series didn’t end last week, glad that we have one more – “Share Purpose” and glad that I get to preach tomorrow night on it (It will be posted at in a short while).

All that said, this is why I’m still thinking and blogging about Easter. Throughout Holy Week, I was blogging through the lens of the disciples. This week, I’ve been talking with my young children (our boys in particular since our daughter is 20 mos) about Easter and can’t help but wonder what it must feel like to them.

This year, we didn’t terrify them with sitting on the lap of the Easter Bunny – their choice, not mine. Though I’m always happy to save $20, I did find myself wishing they were more fascinated by the gigantic rabbit.
“He’s a nice 7 foot, 200 lb. rabbit though” I said, as we walked by him at the mall. “I’m telling you, there is nothing scary about it.”
“He’s not going to eat us?”
“No, rabbits only eat carrots and mommy’s flowers, they don’t eat people.”
“Why is he so big then?”
“It’s likely due to his metabolism …”

Clearly, I enjoy many of our Easter traditions for children. (I also like Halloween, Santa and anything else involving nostalgia, imagination and candy). I know some think it’s selling out this sacred moment of the resurrection but if I can offer a thought – painted eggs, gigantic bunnies filled with people and tiny plastic eggs filled with chocolate littered around the backyard actually invite children to this narrative.

I know some hardcore Christians would prefer that I explain to my 3 and 4 year old, “Jesus actually died from asphyxiation, possibly even congestive heart failure and pleural effusion. That’s right kids, it’s awful and excruciating. But don’t worry, Sunday is coming. More importantly, I have spared you from eating a chocolate bunny and sweet jelly beans – praise Jesus!”

Among my highlights this year is when our oldest asked me, “What does the Easter bunny do?”
“Well the Easter bunny is a symbol of life and Easter is about life. Jesus comes back to life and says, “If you place your trust in me, you can have this life too.”  We talked a little more, rehashed it all again with his younger brother and did it all over again the next night.  These are good days for me.

If we’re being honest, he’d likely have this same question if we had banned the bunny and  forbid the painting of eggs but my contention is in the eyes of a child, this stuff adds to the story, not detracts. My parents were half-committed to this sort of thing, it was fun, it was silly, we did it and pushed back against it while leaning toward what was really important – I turned out to be a pastor.

In any case, notice my pre-Kindergartner doesn’t ask, “Father, explain to me the validity of Easter so that I may discern whether nor not this is appropriate for consideration.” He asks about the bunny – It’s an entry point and as a parent and as an inconsistent pragmatist, I’m ok with it here. (That’s right, so much is situational, including pragmatism. I know, I’m not making many new friends with that ;)

Many years later from now, I’ll explain that the bunny is a borrowed pagan symbol representing fertility and longevity of life that the Christians took and I would argue, redeemed. They said, “Jesus is not only the symbol of life now and forever, He is the answer to it. Your eggs and rabbits symbolizing these values of life are indeed possible in this world are are fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus.”

I imagine years later, when we no longer do the silly traditions, I’ll ask them their thoughts on Easter. Likely there will be some theological confusion, some boredom from the familiarity, and depending on their personalities and interests, there will be some distractions.

My hope of course is despite that/through that, they will identify themselves as followers/disciples of Jesus but it will be interesting to hear their thoughts then. May the Lord give us as parents wisdom, strength and grace as we get there and much more then.


  1. Well, on the other hand, mother rabbits can be hare-raising!

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