Is the Easter Bunny Stealing Jesus' Thunder?
Wednesday, April 11, 2012Tweet
On St. Patrick's Day this year, I didn't do anything in particular to commemorate the day, but I did go to a friend's bridal shower with my mom. As we drove through the downtown area of the town where the shower was, I saw people up and down the streets, wearing green, out enjoying the freakishly nice weather.
At one point, a group of women ran across the street, laughing. They were totally decked out in St. Patrick's Day decorated shirts, wearing giant shamrock headbands, just a completely tacky display of holiday cheer.
And it made me smile.
There's some refreshing about choosing to wholeheartedly and joyfully celebrate a holiday. About choosing to be trusting, not skeptical. Or to be earnest, instead of cynical.
I thought about this moment this past weekend, seeing the mixture of Easter-related tweets and Facebook statuses talking about chocolate candy, Jesus' resurrection, and the Easter bunny.
Easter is about joy. In the Catholic church, we sing "Alleluia!" loud and proud after not hearing the word for six weeks. We proclaim that our God's love is greater than even death, and we celebrate.
And so it saddens me when I see Christians stomping on others' Easter joy with admonishments to remember that Easter is about Jesus, not chocolate, and bemoaning the secularization and commercialization of the holiday.
Because honestly? I don't think those "This is what Easter is really about" comments lead anyone to Jesus.
There are so many terrible things in this world -- disease, hunger, war -- that we could be focusing our efforts on eradicating. Why focus on eliminating things that make other people happy?
It's the same with Christmas. In my family, Christmas is a time for family to come together, to eat deliciously fattening food, to listen to overplayed holiday songs, and to give each other presents.
Technically none of these things have to do with Jesus' birth. But are they really detracting from "the reason for the season"? Those of us who are Christian still go to church on Christmas Eve and still take the time to reflect on God becoming man. Those who are not, don't, but they still participate in our joyful Christmas celebration as a family.
In my department at work, we had a holiday party where we all brought in food and gifts and went around telling each other "happy holidays." It was such a fun and happy event, and I couldn't help but feel that it better captured the "spirit of Christmas" than if there'd been an event for only those who believed in Jesus, who told each other "Merry Christmas," and who didn't speak about Santa or other "commercial" aspects of the season.
Isn't a joyful holiday better celebrated with as much joy as possible?
Maybe there is a real danger posed by secularization and commercialization, that all of us Christians are going to forget why we commemorate these dates in the first place, but I just don't see it. I feel like expanding religious holiday celebrations to be inclusive of many more people, even in weird and funny ways, is a better way to bear witness to the love of Jesus than to keep them narrowly and exclusively focused.
But that's just me. What do you think?