One Sunday morning each spring, sunrise brings as much excitement as Christmas morning for millions of American children, as they spring from their beds in search of what the famous bunny has left in their baskets this year.Soon, the backyard is turned upside down in search of brightly colored eggs. The house is covered in foil candy wrappers, along with the infamous plastic green grass that is sure to get stuck in mom’s vacuum.
After the early-morning festivities, everyone dresses in their new pastel apparel to make their yearly appearance at church and sit through the usual sermon on this underestimated Christian holiday commonly known as Easter.
Easter, like so many other holidays, enjoys vast popularity and is celebrated all over the world, yet I am frustrated to see so many once-a-year, church-attending Christians leave church on Easter Sunday without truly grasping the meaning of the most significant event of Christian faith.
Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ mission, ending with his death on the cross, would only place him alongside other great religious teachers who died for their conviction. But in Jesus’ resurrection, he stands out as not only a man, but also as God himself.
Christianity without a resurrection would still remain completely under the binding of the Old Testament Jewish Law, meaning there would be no defeat of death and no reconciliation between God and sin apart from insufficient animal sacrifices.
Peter, John, Paul and others preached and testified to the resurrection of Christ, for which they all gladly suffered. They saw the beauty in the fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham, and nothing was more vital than proclaiming this truth.
The Christian story tells of a God who came near and dwelt among his people, suffered for his people, and brought redemption to completion through his resurrection from the dead.
Christianity is quite unique in this truth.
I am concerned that as Christians continue to jump on the bandwagon of mainstream Easter traditions, the resurrection story will continue to be watered down or even worse, lost amidst the stuffed bunnies, marshmallow chicks and dyed eggs of the season.
Maybe Christians don’t realize how dangerously close they come to syncretism.
Christianity, not to mention the most important event in Christian history, seems to be growing more defined by American culture (materialism and individualism) than by the Gospel.
When did we become more concerned with finding the Easter egg with the dollar bill in it than reflecting on the foundation of Christian faith?
Why is it that so many Christian children have this picture in their head of Jesus and the Easter bunny holding hands and hunting eggs together beneath the cross?
It is no wonder Christian children have such a hard time answering the question: What is Easter really about?
The syncretism of Christian faith and American tradition becomes blatantly obvious as we attend Easter egg hunts after Sunday church and use eggs in Sunday school to illustrate the cross and the empty tomb.
In an attempt to connect with the culture, some churches are permeating the Gospel with a purely American/Western worldview.
I remember waking up on Easter morning and being far more excited about what was waiting for me in my Easter basket than what Jesus had done by keeping his promise and defeating death, sin and Satan.
Instead, this Easter season, let’s put down the chocolate and stop looking for plastic eggs; let’s be less focused on our new spring outfits; and finally, let’s move away from selfish things motivated by American traditions.
This Easter season let’s live for the resurrection.
Caralisa Cook is a junior advertising/public relations major from Hot Springs, Ark.