NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–There will come a time in the life of every parent when he or she will have to decide what to do with the Easter bunny. For most it will come sooner rather than later, especially if you have young children.
What is the right thing to do with this soft, cuddly animal with long ears that appears to deliver baskets of goodies and colorful eggs on Easter? Must we choose between Jesus and the Easter bunny?
There’s always advice readily available when it comes to cultural issues like the Easter bunny. I was being interviewed on a radio show about a book on Halloween when Joyce called the show. “I don’t have anything to do with something unless it’s in the Bible,” she said.
I replied, “Joyce, do you drive a car? Do you use a telephone or electricity in your home? These things aren’t mentioned in the Bible. I appreciate your zeal to want to remain biblically focused, but that reasoning is not only faulty, it’s also not what God is trying to communicate to us in his Word about life in the 21st century.”
There’s an excellent principle from the Bible that should serve as our foundation for the decision-making process regarding the Easter bunny. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” God must permeate our lives so that we do all for his glory. We must always keep questioning ourselves, “Is what we are doing glorifying God?”
So what are our options when it comes to the big rabbit and Easter?
We can simply not participate in anything at all associated with the Easter bunny. This is certainly a valid option, but it presents a problem that will need to be dealt with if you have younger children. The Easter bunny is a very big part of the Easter season in our culture. Kids will want to know why they can’t do what their relatives, friends at school and others in the neighborhood are doing with the Easter bunny. And how come they didn’t receive a basket from the Easter bunny filled with candy and colorful eggs? This is definitely not an insurmountable problem.
However, is it possible to allow children to have the Easter bunny as part of their holiday tradition and not miss out on the real reason for celebrating Easter? I think it is.
Let’s remember it’s extremely difficult to make the connection between the modern-day Easter bunny and ancient pagan rituals. Before we get too carried away about holiday traditions, let’s remember all the things that are such an integral part of our culture, things like birthday cakes and even calendars and the days of the week — all of which have pagan roots. Make sure you are looking at the big picture and being consistent in the process. Choose your battles carefully.
Our main concern must be keeping what Jesus accomplished through his death and resurrection the main focus of Easter and not letting any holiday traditions, including the Easter bunny, diminish the reason for our celebration. It’s not necessary to deprive your children of good fiction so long as they understand the difference between fact and fiction. If you are careful and wise in how you incorporate the Easter bunny tradition, it can be fun for you and your children and also provide a great springboard for your family’s discussion about why we celebrate Easter.
Also, be careful about being so opposed to a tradition with which you may disagree. You may lose sight of what Easter is all about. Sometimes I think Christians are so busy telling people what we are against, that we forget to tell them what we are for. In this case, make sure you are more passionate about sharing the truth of Easter than you are about sharing what you think is wrong with it.
Russo is an evangelist from Ontario, Calif., and host of a TV program, “24/SEVEN,” and radio program, “Real Answers.” This column is adapted from his new book “Why Celebrate Easter,” released in March by Broadman & Holman, the trade books division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.