Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Search for the Lamb - A Christian Alternative to the Easter Egg Hunt

We've pondered the problem of the Easter egg hunt for a while now. I grew up hunting candy on Easter afternoon, hidden by my father - a Bible believing baptist preacher, and it was a lot of fun.

But, in recent years, we've been challenged to considered where the symbols of eggs and bunnies come from, and whether they have a place in our celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Since the resurrection celebration is not actually God commanded, we have a lot of freedom in how we observe it.

What we are told in scripture is to remember the events of Jesus' death and resurrection. That's something Jesus started himself, with the introduction of communion (Luke 22: 14-23). Jesus also instructed us to share the message of the gospel (Mark 16: 15-16). And, we are to be separate from the world while still living in it (Romans 12: 2).

With these things in mind, we can examine the idea of an Easter egg hunt, and find a fitting alternative. I say alternative, because if bunnies and eggs really do have to do with pagan goddesses of fertility, and because at the very least, they have nothing to do with the story of Christ, it does not seem inappropriate to remove them from our celebration. However, there is nothing wrong with the tradition of the hunt (in fact, you could tie it very nicely to scripture by introducing it with Matthew 7: 7 - "seek and you will find"), it is only the symbols being hunted for that need to be changed.

Why not hunt for the Lamb? Instead of eggs try hiding lamb shaped cookies (in baggies of course), with verses about the Lamb. This not only provides a fun time after dinner, but a little learning with dessert. Learning about Jesus and why He is called the Lamb, will help children remember the story and the significance of His sacrifice. As to the sharing, a plate of lamb shaped cookies could be taken to the neighbors, sent to work with Dad, or given to friends, as an opportunity to share some of what Easter is really about.

We have also thought of hiding one special crown for the children to seek. When looking for the Lamb, they might find the King!

This is just an idea we thought we'd pass along for thought. Celebrating apart from the world, doesn't have to mean leaving the celebration behind. Jesus did say "Let the little children come to me." (Matthew 19: 14)

And, while it's great to be a homeschooler, it's even better to be a Christian!


Ticia said...

Interesting thoughts. I'd always believed that the reason behind using eggs is they are a symbol of new life, just like we have new life in Christ.

But, as you said there probably is a lot of pagan symbolism behind the egg. Oddly enough my kids while believing in Santa Claus have no clue about the Easter bunny, they just accept that we hide the eggs, and to their minds they should help stuff them.

Anonymous said...

Would love to know how you made them.

Anonymous said...

I love your post. Well said and I agree completely. I wish more people would question the traditions we are instilling in our children and then because it was their tradition it is instilled in our grandchildren.

Here is another tradition to question: Christmas Tree
It is an idol from pagan religions and has nothing to do with CHRIST. Christians could not change the pagans so they joined them and just changed the name.

Thus saint the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Anonymous - Of course the Jeremiah passage is speaking of idol worship, and the irony of taking a part of a tree to use for firewood, and worshiping the rest - but it's something for thought.

Anonymous said...

I'm a southern baptist & like you I've searched for the deeper meaning in many traditions. I've grown to hate the bunny as it steals attention from the true Lamb of God. However, if you want more meaning to Easter you should seriously look at Passover. The Lord established 7 Feasts & Jesus observed them all. In fact He fulfilled the first 4 already in His first coming. Chris was crucified on Passover - the sinless lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He was buried on the feast of unleavened bread - dying a sinless death. And he rose from the grave (Resurrection aka Easter) on the Feast of Firstfruits. God did command us to celebrate the resurrection, it's just that He gave it another name. Christ fulfilled the Feast of Firstfruits by being the first of the resurrection as Paul talks about in Corinthians.

(The 4th feast He fulfilled was the Feast of Weeks/Pentacost where He sent the Holy Spirit to believers.)

But back to Passover, it has been celebrated in basically the same way for at least 2000 years when the first Seder was recorded. If you study it, you will find meaning to the egg & the hunt. It is beautiful. Especially the hunt. The middle matza is striped & pierced and is broken, buried (hid) & (hunt) resurrected & literally ransomed back. Celebrating Christ in the Passover will add so much meaning to your Easter. I highly encourage you to research it.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for Easter ideas when I read the comment about the Christmas tree

The tradition comes from Germany where when the Celtic missionaries came to evangelise the pagans, they found them worshiping the oak tree, Thor's oak.Near a place called Fulda, Boniface, the missionary, dared to fell Thor's oak to show Christ was stronger, and tradition has it that a little fir tree grew where the oak had been

Patty said...

I also im searching for an alternative to the egg hunt. My husband and I just began our ministry at a church where they have done the egg hunt forever and as much as we don't want to change everything the people there have done forever, egg hunt is one thing that we do not agree with in the least bit and therefore my search. Can you please explain how you did the Lamb Hunt. I ordered stuffed lambs so that everyone who joins the hunt can take one home but I'm stuck in the way to execute it. Please help!!!
God Bless

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Patty - If I remember right, all I did with the lamb cookies was hide them for the kids to find. We got a little more elaborate in later years, adding verses and story to candy and stuffed animals. You might check out one of the later posts for ideas.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this great idea! We are not opposed to egg hunts and do them with our children. However my husband is not comfortable w egg hunts at our church, for various reasons, which I support. We have a HUGE lawn outside of our church and this year I saw your idea, made 130 lamb cookies and the kids had a blast! I also made one crown for each child (handed those out) and his one, just for fun, to see who could find it.