Of course the Easter bunny is cute. No one disputes that. I only have a problem with the fact that he’s both a male and a mammal. Maybe the Easter bunny is supposed to be a girl, but I always hear him referred to as “he”. And he brings eggs. Mammals don’t lay eggs.
I’m not sure why we’re supposed to reinforce this biological impossibility to our children, but it’s the culturally appropriate thing to do. The boy bunny brings the eggs, which is probably why he hides them, because the only way for him to get them in the first place is to steal them. So I guess the whole bunny-bringing-eggs thing is really symbolism of hiding one’s sins.
But I digress. The point is that if we really cared about kids’ education we wouldn’t have an Easter bunny at all. We would have an Easter Chicken or an Easter Penguin. They both have cute babies. Of course, reptiles and fish lay eggs, too, but no one could quite buy the Easter Gecko or the Easter Guppy. But the Easter bunny is rather ridiculous.
Because of this our little family has never really embraced the Holiday Figure fever that is best evidenced by the displays near the cash at Wal-Mart every few months or so. We’re not into Santa, either, because quite frankly a jolly elf delivering presents down chimneys makes no sense. So we’re spoilsports, I suppose, much to the consternation of Grandma and Grandpa. Even the tooth fairy is rather odd. What is she supposed to do with all those teeth she buys, anyway? The girls have always known it is the Tooth Daddy, and that half the time Daddy forgets to put the money under the pillow, so now they just raid our wallets. The romance is gone, but the end result is the same.
Perhaps another reason I’ve never embraced the Holiday Figure theme is that the holidays themselves have deep significance, and I have always felt like the figures cheapened that a little bit. I know not everyone agrees with me, but when I think of Easter I don’t think of bunnies, though I’ll gladly accept any chocolate anyone wants to send my way. I think of new life. That’s the original, sacred message. We don’t have to carry our burdens anymore. God’s paid the price, and He wants to offer us a new beginning.
Maybe you’re not into the religious aspect of the season, but I hope the meaning itself, of new beginnings, still resonates with you. That, of course, is why we have the eggs. There is new hope and new life, which is the resurrection theme. And so my thoughts turn, as they do every year around this time, to what in my life needs a new breath of life.
What needs a new beginning in your life? Maybe you need to be freed of pain from your childhood, which has haunted you and is hurting your relationships today. Perhaps this could be the season when you go to that church on Easter Sunday, when you find a good counselor, when you join a support group, or even when you reach out and tell a loved one your real story. Maybe you need to forgive someone something big. It doesn’t seem fair to forgive (it really never is), but to hold on to the bitterness and anger is only hurting you, and is making any hope of restored relationships impossible.
Maybe, as I wrote a few weeks ago, you need to reach out to a daughter-in-law, a mother-in-law, a son-in-law. Maybe you need to reach out to the spouse who sleeps next to you every night, but whom you rarely speak to on any deep level. Maybe it’s time to really share what is in your heart.
One of my favourite lines in fiction is found in Anne of Green Gables, when Anne turns to Marilla and says, “Isn’t it wonderful that tomorrow is a day with no mistakes in it yet?” That’s the spirit of Easter—forgiveness, second chances, a breath of fresh air, a communion with the spiritual. We all need that. So when you’re eating your chocolate eggs, pause and remember their real significance. Everything old can be new again. Even you.