Eggs, Bunnies, Chocolate and Jesus???
It saddens me each time I walk into a store during this season and see all the isles filled with Easter baskets, eggs, candy, bunnies and other items. What do eggs, bunnies and chocolate have to do with Jesus? NOTHING! All are pagan symbols dedicated to the pagan goddess Ishtar, Eostre, or Astarte; this is where our traditions of Easter come from. While I expect to see the stores filled with these items each year what really saddens me is that the church and true believers accept and practice these traditions right alongside unbelievers.
Many times we dress up, have egg hunts, enjoy a big meal with family and friends, and go to a church service assuming we are doing all this to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Easter has nothing to with Jesus…absolutely nothing. When celebrating Easter one is actuality celebrating the goddess of sex! Do some research yourself…Does not seem so cute and innocent when you know the truth does it? And it’s not cute or innocent. The pagans of the past would rise up early to observe the sun rising in the east. They would have a big feast; ham being traditionally the main course. The children would hunt for brightly colored, decorated eggs that supposedly came from divine rabbits; hence the Easter bunny. If you did even deeper, they had some pretty disgusting practices that went along with the other traditions as well. Though we may not be taking as far, participating in some of the other appalling practices that the people of the past did, we are still participating and in truth the description of their holiday festivities does not sound all that different from how we as a culture celebrate Easter today does it?
So what does the Bible say about this?
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8 ESV
“When the LORD your God cut off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? – that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32 ESV
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to become once more? You observe days and months and seasons and yeas! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.” Galatians 4:8-11 ESV
Clearly God does not want us to conform to this world and celebrate the pagan holidays we once did before we came into relationship with him. We are commanded not to worship false gods. So…some may say? What does it really matter? I mean the eggs are fun, the bunnies are cute…what does it really matter if we celebrate Easter in the name of God? Well once again I refer to the word of God.
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” Hebrews 10:26 ESV
“Everyone who make a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps in sinning; no one who keeps sinning had either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:4-10
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17
I for one do not want to be categorized as one who is lawless, or in communion with the devil! So now what, you may be asking? Am I to stop celebrating Easter (and all other pagan holidays)? My answer would be yes! But it’s not that easy, you might be thinking. My family and I will be asked to participate at school, work and church….we will have to turn down invites from friends and family. Break family traditions that have been going on for generations. What will my friends and family think? We could possibly be mocked, made fun of, ridiculed…even ostracized. And my answer would be…yes, yes and possibly yes!
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22 ESV
It does not matter what we think or how we feel! We are to be obedient to the word of God no matter the cost! No one said choosing to follow Jesus would be easy, even Jesus himself warned us!
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV
“And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 ESV
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you; ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ It they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. It they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. It I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin… ” John 15:18-25 ESV
“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” 1 John 3:13 ESV
This does not sound at all fun…and it’s not! Following Jesus is not easy and these are just a few verses that explain to us what will happen if we choose to follow him. I believe this is what Matthew was talking about when he wrote “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to live, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NIV
I don’t know about you, but I want to enter in through the narrow gate no matter the cost! Does it really matter what others think of us? No…what really matters is our heart and God knows our hearts!
Now what next??? You decide to stop following the worlds ways…do you go around telling everyone to repent? That they are sinners? Maybe…but because of the bad reputation that we Christians already have that is probably not the best way to go about it. First we are all sinners, even those of us who are saved. Plus just think about how you would have responded to someone coming up and accusing you of all this wrongdoing, especially before you knew Christ…most likely it would not turn out well. So what can we do?
Personally as a family we choose not to celebrate these pagan holidays once we discovered the truth for ourselves. When my daughter was in preschool I would keep her home on the days they held their parties or I would at least pick her up before the party or wait and drop her off after it was over. (I know this can be a challenge…but once again following Jesus is not the easy way!) Whenever our family is invited to a pagan event we politely decline…no explanation needed. (Yes we even decline to participate with our church family! We don’t volunteer, we don’t support or participate in these events in any way!) And of course we don’t celebrate the holidays at home.
Do my children know we are living differently than most? Yes, they do. Do they care…do they miss out? No, in fact as my eldest got older and wiser she has expressed gratitude for exposing her to the truth of Gods word. We have discussed this many times, it happens almost each Easter (and on other holidays), whenever they see all the bright colors and holiday displays. I answer truthfully each time, explaining to them in terms that they can understand why we as a family choose not to participate. Throughout the years I have enjoyed witnessing their response to others when they are asked, have they seen the Easter bunny, or are they excited for the Easter bunny to come? Unlike many of us adults children are not ashamed or afraid to speak the truth!
Many times after I have turned down several invites from friends and or family members, I have been asked if my family celebrates holidays…and we do…just not pagan ones. And it is that moment when I take the opportunity open up and explain to them why our family has chosen not to participate in certain holidays. Many people I have the conversation with never knew Easter (or many of the other holidays we celebrate) are pagan. Many research and get back to me surprised…unfortunately most deliberately choose to disobey Gods word. We are still friends…we just don’t talk about this subject; they know where I stand and I know where they stand. It is not our place to force anyone to comply with God’s word. Some however pray about it and they too choose to put away the pagan traditions of this world and follow God’s word as best as they can. Praise God!
None of us will ever be able to live a perfect sin free life…if that were possible then Jesus would not have needed to come to earth and be crucified for our sins. We can however make the decision to do our best to follow God’s word.
“… ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 ESV
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” 1 John 2:3-4 ESV
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know then, and they follow me.” John 10:27
I want to be known as a disciple of Jesus no matter the cost. I want to do my best to follow the word of God. This life is temporary, fleeting. Plus greater treasures and awards await me in heaven! Why would I want to compromise for man?
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
It is sad that many churches today either ignorantly or blatantly ignore the word of God. Each Easter they mislead millions of people by endorsing and celebrating a pagan holidays such as Easter. Not all Churches do however, and if your church is one of them you have something special and unique! We once attended a church that did not endorse these pagan rituals. There was no church supported Easter programs; eggs hunts, petting zoos or any of the other things churches will do during this season to attract crowds. If a member of the church choose to celebrate this pagan holiday, then it was done so on their own time, on their own time. In fact the church did not even call it an Easter service…they refused. Instead we gathered as a congregation to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Afterwards many of the families got together for a Passover Seder meal. (Now we are under grace and NOT law, so we are not required to celebrate Passover. However I would encourage you to look into this if you are interested in an alternative to Easter.) Passover is a God ordained holiday and a wonderful way to explain to children the life, death and resurrection of Christ! How wonderful it would be if more churches choose to follow this example. That they were not merely seeking numbers, but truly seeking souls!
For the last several years (as we move frequently) we have not been able to find a church that does not participate in Easter. No church is perfect…so please do not use this as an excuse not to attend church! However the heart of the churches we have joined seek to worship God and live according to the Bible…they were young churches, mislead…trying to find their place in this world full of confusion. Talk to the elders, the pastor, the deacons…in a loving way ask them why they choose to celebrate these pagan holidays and to give you scriptures that support it. (They won’t be able to!) Then share with them what God has revealed to you and make sure you have the scriptures to support what you are communicating! Perhaps that is exactly why God has placed you there; we are after all to be salt and light to the world…not just to the unsaved…but to the saved though uninformed as well.
Unfortunately there will be times church leaders will choose to ignore the truth and when that happens, (over any topic, not just holidays…anything that is against the word of God,) then it is time to leave. You cannot be led or follow a church that is going to willingly choose to be disobedient to God’s word.
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and truth: and put away all the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seen evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
For me and my house…we will serve the LORD! I pray that you too will choose to do the same. Daily read the word of God so as not to be misled by the world. Choose to follow Jesus no matter the cost!
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 ESV
For no matter what happens, your reward in heaven will be much greater! And remember you don’t walk this journey alone, the spirit of God dwells inside you and guides you!
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: …” Matthew 5:11-12 KJV
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
So choose to be that light! Choose to follow the word of God in its entirety, even if following him makes us look strange or different; that’s ok! Remember this is not our home…we are ‘aliens’ merely passing through. If we truly are God’s children we should look different, act different. We are salt and light, God’s chosen ambassadors, the ones who are to bring the good news of the gospel to the lost people of this world. Sometimes we get the change to do so in conversation, but often times the only witness we have is through our behaviors and actions…if we conform to the world how will the world know we belong to Christ?
Let’s choose to be different! Let’s celebrate the resurrection of Christ in a way that honors and glories God and not in a way that degrades what Jesus did for us on the cross. It was not cute…it was not fun…the God of the universe after being beaten was crucified, hung on a cross and died for our sins. Then three days later he rose! We do have so very much to celebrate! If Jesus had died and not risen then we would have no hope…but because he rose we have hope! We have the promise of an eternity with him. That alone is much to celebrate…we don’t need baskets, eggs, bunnies and chocolate to make the holiday have meaning. Jesus is all we need!