Easter symbols


{NOTE: I’m actually writing this part AFTER I’ve done some research on the Easter Symbols. I have to tell you, I had no real preconceived notions about any of the symbols. But as I’ve research them, I am struck by some of what I found out, the irony of much of it. But the one thing that sticks in my mind the most is how we can be lead to believe just about anything. Things that are done on a regular basis become ingrained in us, we don’t look at it and question it, it just is. If we could truly wrap our minds around this very truth, we could use it to change the generations to come. It is actually what many of the greats that we look back on did. They took pagan symbols and changed what they meant, they didn’t try to fight against the symbols of the day, the took them and renewed their meaning. Amazing! With that said, I honestly thought twice about continuing with this blog. But I did because I think it’s important that we grasp this truth and use it. So as you read through, don’t get all twisted up in the original meanings, instead stand in awe of how those original meanings have changed. As you will see, sometimes I did just that as I was learning, but I am leaving the blog as it was originally written as it was a journey for me. I hope it is for you as well.}

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A few weeks ago I asked, “What is your favorite Easter symbol?” Some of the answers were the rolled back stone and empty tomb/grave; the lily and the kingly color purple; the cross with a white lily in the center; the cross with purple cloth on it; little yellow chicks. I personally answered the colors of Easter because they bring such cheeriness to the drab winter blahs. The color of nature begin to appear. Honestly, this time of year feels more like a new year than New Years. It feels like a time of fresh beginnings.

Many Christians can be so hard on those that celebrate Easter and include things like the Easter Bunny and the little chicks and all the candy. Yet, is that really fair? I guess it’s about the focus, focusing on “worldly” things instead of “Godly” things. Let’s just stop and really think about that for a minute. Let’s take a look at some of the things that are focused on, both Christian and secular.

The Easter Bunny – can’t have Easter without seeing an Easter bunny somewhere, even if you are trying to avoid him. Why a bunny? Because they are very fertile and served as a symbol of the new life during the Spring season. Guess we can be glad they choose the cute little bunny instead of a mouse! The little yellow chicks and the egg represent the same thing. It can also be traced back to the goddess Eastre. She was the goddess of fertility and springtime and her earthly symbol was the rabbit. Yet another pagan symbol used for a holiday.

The Empty Tomb – This is one symbol that is seen all over the place in the Christian venue. Like one of the respondent’s said, “Many people believe Jesus died, but not everybody believes that He conquered death!” The tomb is about new life, new beginnings. Jesus conquered death, and if we are in him, we will also conquer death and live with Him forever. The tomb is our earthly symbol that in conquering death, Jesus gave us new life.

So I guess the Easter Bunny and the egg mean the same thing as the empty tomb. Maybe we should teach our kids that. If we did, every time they saw a bunny or an egg they would think of the empty tomb. Come on, we’ve convinced them that the Easter Bunny lays eggs! I don’t think it would be that hard to do, especially since bunnies live in holes … you know, little caves in the ground … they look like tombs … hmmm but is the tomb what we want them thinking of?

The Easter Lily – tell me, has anyone ever walked into a church at Easter time and NOT seen at least one Easter Lily?? Many times it is one the most prominent things seen. Tons of them scattered all over. Do you even know what the Lily stands for? Do you know why it’s apart of every church decoration at Easter time? I don’t so I’m going to find out. It’s very interesting to look into this one. There are several meanings. The lily has been a mark of purity and grace throughout the ages, it embodies joy, hope and life. That’s why it’s displayed in churches. But it is also rooted in Roman mythology linked to Juno, the queen of the gods. I’m not going to recount why, you can look that up yourself. Just wanted to point that out because so many Christians are quick to point to other symbols of holidays and their pagan origins, yet this is one that seems to be acceptable?? Anyway, here’s a little ironic funny that I found. The flower is said to be a mark of purity, yet during the Victorian era, the very conspicuous stamens and pistils were removed because they were seen as overt symbols of sexuality that might move the congregation to impure thoughts. O.o So the lily has been quite the controversial symbol, yet, is one of the most prominent ones still today. Interesting huh?

The kingly purple cloth. Well, when I looked into this one, I was shocked. Purple symbolizes the union of love as well as repentance with pain. It is the color for penitence and mourning and the liturgical color for the seasons of Advent and Lent. It is also a traditional color of Mardi Gras, symbolic of justice. In Bible times, purple was a royal color because the dye was so expensive that only the rich could afford it. The purple cloth/robe was something put on Jesus by the soldiers as part of their mocking. If you look up purple in the New Testament, you would see that it is not at all looked upon in a favorable way. O.o I never realized that, did you? Basically the whole purple robe thing was a joke. Yet, I think to many Christians, it is symbolic of Christ being the King of kings and Lord of lords. But I can’t help wondering what Jesus would think of this particular symbol? I think I’d rather have his bloody garment, the one people touched and were healed.

No one mentioned the crown of thorns, but I think it is also a symbol we see a lot, although less than the others. The crown of thorns represents the pain, suffering, and the cruel manner in which Jesus was treated by the soldiers. It was a part of their mocking of him. Another symbol created by enemies and incorporated into our yearly Easter display. I get what it means when I look at it though, it really is about his suffering, the pain he endured for me. But is the purple robe or the crown of thorns really what we should be focused on given their origins?

The Lamb – How about his one that wasn’t mentioned, just read it the way I found it written and really think about it: “The lamb represents Jesus and relates His death to that of the lamb sacrificed on the first Passover. Christians traditionally refer to Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” Many people serve lamb as part of the Easter feast.” O.o Irony.

The Cross – This is by far the most widely seen symbol of Easter. If we were honest with ourselves, we would see that it is even more prominent than even the Easter Bunny. Christian and secular worlds alike, recognize the cross as symbol of Easter. It is the symbol of life over death, of sacrifice, suffering, and ultimately love. The cross is not just the symbol of Easter, it is the symbol of Christianity, because without the cross, what would be the point? But is that really true?

I think the thing that seems to be lost in all these Christian and secular symbols is … Jesus. The cross without the empty tomb is nothing. Many people died on the cross at the hands of the Romans. Many people were laid out in tombs, the difference here is that it is empty. But the empty tomb without death is nothing. The symbols of the robe and the crown of thorns, and even the cross really, were all symbols of mocking given by the Romans. But put those symbols on someone besides Jesus, and they mean nothing. As Christians, we’d like to point our fingers at the secular world and say they have their focus all wrong with the Easter bunny, colored eggs, baby chicks, candy, etc. But are they really the only ones with a wrong focus?

What has struck me about all this is the ‘I’, ‘me’, focus. Did you notice that at all? I realize without the ‘I’ focus, the whole point to Easter can be lost. If we walked around going, ‘Jesus died for you,’ it would be somehow warped, it wouldn’t be personal. It would almost be condemning of others, as if he didn’t die for me. But what I’m talking about is ‘I’ think about what is comfortable for me. Thing about all the comfy symbols, the beautiful cross, decorated with the purple sash and the lily in the middle and the crown of thorns hung around it. Next to it the empty tomb surrounded by Easter lilies. It’s all somehow calm, peaceful … nice. But without Jesus, none of it means anything.

One thing the movie “The Passion” did for me, was put an image in my mind that is unforgettable. It isn’t at all calm, peaceful, or nice. It is of my savior, stripped, beaten, bruised, bloodied, mocked, scorned, humiliated and spit on. It is of the blood pouring out of him into pools of blood on the ground, smeared as they drug him through it. Without all this, there wouldn’t be any payment for my sins. He could just die like the other’s put up on the crosses, he had to suffer, he had to shed blood.  THIS is the price Christ paid for ME. THIS is the price Christ paid for YOU.

The focus on him being alive, is a time for celebration, because what that means is that Jesus was the Christ, he was the son of God, he was the real deal. It proves that all that he went through, really means something to me. Otherwise, he was just another guy beaten and crucified with no impact on my life. If we only focus on the ‘He’s alive!’ part and don’t get what ‘He’ did for us, the empty tomb means nothing.

There are two parts to Easter and if we leave out the first part, the second part means nothing. It’s funny how people all over were so upset over Good Friday being changed to “Celebrating spring” in one small town, I was one of them. Yet, what does Good Friday really mean to us anyway? It’s just another day off work, isn’t it? But without ‘Good Friday’ there is no ‘Easter’. I have to note the irony of that as well, the day Christ went through all that stuff is called Good. I read that many Christians are now calling Easter – Resurrection Sunday – that make sense to me actually. But I think they should also change Good Friday to something like Crucifixion Friday. At least the focus would be right.

Ok, don’t get mad at me. I know the reason it’s Good Friday is because Christ dieing for us was a Good thing. And don’t get mad at me because I realize that Easter should be a celebration of Him being alive, of new life. I guess what I’m just realizing is that Easter has become a focus point while the real point is being missed. One without the other, is pointless. If you are a Christian just glad to have an extra day off on Friday and not focusing on Jesus, you have to stop pointing the finger at the secular world with colored eggs and baby chicks.

The question is, what will I do with all this? Will I make any changes to what I do this Friday? Will I see the symbols differently? Or have I allowed the worldly influences to create habits that are hard to break? I guess we will just have to wait and see. But here’s a question for you, what will you do with it?

Still don’t get what I’m saying? Watch this video and you’ll get it – Lead me to the cross

Or this one: Worthy is the Lamb

Here’s a question for you … how do you honor a man who gave his life for you? Jesus told us what he wanted done. He told us in Mark 16 (AMP):

15And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole [e]human race]. 16He who believes [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] and is baptized will be saved [[f]from the penalty of eternal death]; but he who does not believe [who does not adhere to and trust in and rely on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] will be condemned. 19So then the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and He sat down at the right hand of God.(C20And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]. Amen (so be it).

So if you are a Christian dragging a cross on Easter Sunday, you have to stop pointing the finger at the secular world with Easter bunnies. After all, their focus isn’t really that much different than yours, you are all focusing on Easter symbols instead of on the Christ. Yet, anyone of those Easter symbols could be used to point to Christ. Does it really matter if someone is following a bunny, a baby chick, an empty tomb, or a cross as long as they run into Christ?

If you are condemning people because they are letting their children get their picture taken with an Easter bunny, and not lending them a helping hand when they need it, you aren’t any better than the secular world.

That Easter bunny, he just might lead someone to the church, he might get someone into the church building that wouldn’t otherwise be there. Because of that Easter Bunny, someone might give their life to Christ. If you’re dragging the cross, or doing a play and it doesn’t accomplish that, then the Easter bunny will be one hop ahead of you now won’t he?

Take a page out of the great fore father’s book, quit fighting all the symbols and start changing them. Start using them to the advantage of furthering the Kingdom of God. Then, the church might just change generations of people instead of turning them away.

A picture of someone sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap today could lead to them setting at the Saviors feet tomorrow. But it could all depend on you and if you are willing to make a change. Are you?

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3 thoughts on “Easter symbols

  1. Wow Marci, you wrote this so elequently. It really opened my mind and my heart. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Jesus is what it is all about and if the bunny and or any other Easter symbol or phrase brings a person to Christ, then that is wonderful. The journey is not the most important thing in this case, the destination is. Becoming a believr in our Savior is what it is all about. That’s when the real journey begins, after we are saved.

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