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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Joyeuses Pâques ! Christ is Risen! Go Tel!

Contemplations on Celebrating Resurrection Sunday

Can you imagine the joy and excitement of discovering your dearest friend who had been cruelly tortured and crucified returned to life? With Easter morning, the first Evangelist, Mary Magdalene was given the Good News to carry and share.  "Go Tell!" John 20: 17 NIV
When I was healed and redeemed, I was filled with an urgency to "Go Tell", and I've met many others have been similarly filled with a passion to share how God loves us so much. For me, accompanying this desire for everyone to know the Love of God, is a desire to learn more about God and to draw nearer to Him. 
Each holiday season that draws near, I am reminded of the scripture in which God says he is weary of our meaningless festivals. The first time I received this prompting in my soul to read the scripture I didn't even know it existed, but I cannot say I did not know about it. 
Are you concerned about Easter celebrations and rabbit traditions interfering and standing in the way of your walk with God?
This post has a bit of history of how Easter got its name in English, as well as a few fun ideas for returning the the emphasis to the joy of Christ's Resurrection.
Do you have some fun ideas to share for putting the emphasis back on the joy of discovering Christ alive and well too?
I'd love to share your Resurrection Sunday ideas with others. Please leave a comment below.

How Did Resurrection Sunday Become Easter?

There are a few theories about the name Easter being used for Resurrection Sunday, one is it is derived from the name of a German pagan Goddess of fertility - Oestra, that was celebrated in spring around the same time as Passover. This Goddess was said to consort with rabbits- those legendarily highly reproductive animals. Does this make you more than slightly uncomfortable about giving children chocolate rabbits too?
A second theory is a bit more complicated. This explanation is that it is a misinterpretation from the Latin for "White week" the ancient Christian practice of wearing white during Easter Week -esostarum.
A third theory points to the German word for east - osten where the sun rises, being a play on the word son - sun.
The French word Pâques from the word for Passover seems much more appropriate as a name for our celebration.

Eggs, Rabbits, Chicks, Ducks, Lambs and Resurrection Sunday

Many of the traditions observed in Canada and the USA stem from Old German practises linked to spring celebrations - for example bunnies and eggs.  The connection between rabbits and Easter as discussed above relates to the spring celebration of the Pagan Goddess Oestra. How did eggs, chicks and ducks get involved in Easter?

Eggs and Easter

At Passover - the last meal Christ celebrated with the disciples, the Seder plate traditionally contains a hard boiled egg. This might be the earliest association of eggs with Christ's resurrection. For me the blown eggs of my childhood represent Christ's empty tomb, and the delightful surprise of the egg hunt connects to the joyful surprise of finding Christ alive.
An activity we did at Sunday School reinforced this connection for me:
Easter Hunt with Resurrection Eggs
Tell the children you're having an Easter Hunt then take them outside and ask if they see any eggs. While you're outside have someone else hide the resurrection eggs in another area.
After the children search outside, and can't find any eggs, come inside and talk about how they felt when they were expecting to find eggs, but there weren't any.[disappointed, f frustrated, even angry?]
Discuss how when the disciples went to find Jesus in the tomb, they couldn't find him. Ask how the children think they felt.
Now have the children look in the second area and find the resurrection eggs.
Discuss their feelings about finding the eggs. [Happy, surprised]
Now, use your Resurrection Egg kit to retell the story of Easter.
You can make a set of Resurrection Eggs yourself by placing small symbols inside plastic eggs, or purchase a kit. The following is an affiliate link which supports our family.
Easter - Resurrection Eggs - Easter Activity Set - $19.99
1 standard egg carton 12 plastic eggs 12 symbols (1 inside each egg) 1 bilingual storybook (English and Spanish), full color, saddle-stitched paperback 1 set of stickers, full color peel and stick Recommended for ages 3 and up Product by Family Life

Why Ducks, and Chicks at Easter?

Many baby animals are often associated with spring, and thus linked to Easter Celebrations, but why choose ducks and chicks? Baby turtles, alligators,snakes, platypus, and even fish come from eggs! I have searched the internet, and can't seem to find an answer to this question yet. Do you know why we see ducks and chicks on Easter decorations? Bible Kids Fun Zone has a lovely printable Miracles book that links many of the spring miracles of birth and renewal to the greatest miracle of all. 

Why Easter Lambs?

This answer is much simpler. In John1:29, John the Baptist identifies Christ  as the Lamb of God. Before Christ was crucified, Jews sacrificed lambs to atone for their sins, and the blood was sprinkled on the atonement seat behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies. When Christ died on the cross, the curtain separating the public from the Holy of Holies was ripped in two so man would no longer be separated from God. Mark 15:8
This is a cute Lamb of God handprint craft I discovered at Lifeway
Lamb of God Craft - Lifeaway
I posted several other lamb crafts on Kawartha Lakes Mums that you might enjoy making with your children as well.
How are you dealing with the secular versus sacred this morning?
May God Bless you ,
Thanks for reading!
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