Sunday, April 04, 2010

Why, "Easter"?

My mind has become more curious the older I get... as I child, I never questioned things, and I'm ashamed that it's taken me this long to learn that it's "okay" to question why we do, what we do. I grew up in a home, where we celebrated Jesus' Resurrection, and yes, we did still have fun after church, finding the hidden eggs, and my basket of goodies. I always called this holiday, "Easter" (not "Resurrection Day" or "Risen Day" or anything related to Jesus and the empty tomb), and I blame it on society. It's written on calendars as "Easter", almost all cards say "Happy Easter", etc. So I went along with the motions, for the last 27 years and would wish people a "Happy Easter." But today, after church, I pondered, "Why, Easter?" Do you know where the word "Easter" comes from? So, I did a little digging and found this:

"The fact of the matter is no one knows for sure, but our best bet comes from Bede ("The Venerable"), a late-seventh-century historian and scholar from Anglo-Saxon England. He says Easter's name comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre, associated with spring and fertility, and celebrated around the vernal equinox. So there you go. As Christmas was moved to coincide with (and supplant) the pagan celebration of winter, Easter was likely moved to coincide and replace the pagan celebration of spring.

And while we're at it, the Easter Bunny comes from these pagan rites of spring as well, but more from pagan Germany than pagan Britain. Eighteenth-century German settlers brought "Oschter Haws" (never knew he had a name, did you?) to America, where Pennsylvania Dutch settlers prepared nests for him in the garden or barn. On Easter Eve, the rabbit laid his colored eggs in the nests in payment. In Germany, old Oschter lays red eggs on Maundy Thursday. If anyone knows why children in an agrarian society would believe a rabbit lays eggs, please tell us or a historian near you. "

-Christianity Today

There you have it... why we do what we do. So I propose this to my fellow believers, ditch "Easter" and rename it. I personally like, "Happy Risen Day!" Don't go with the motions that you're "comfortable" with or be ashamed to wish people something other than a "Happy Easter"... I'm sure it will the lead the door open to witness to those that might not have heard the good news! He has Risen... He has Risen Indeed.

Happy Risen Day to you and your families.

*If you ate a jelly bean for every time you read the word "Easter" in this post, you probably would have eaten the whole bag by now*

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