Many parents struggle with how to deal with the Easter bunny when the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the real reason we celebrate Easter. I discovered a way to color eggs, have Easter basket fun and family dinners as well as celebrate the real purpose of this special day. My family was strengthened by our separation of the secular from the spiritual experiences of Easter.
I love spring and always have. I remember running and playing in the fields of our farm as soon as the snow had melted. I remember the March winds being quite chilly and the comfort of a warm coat or jacket as my siblings and I played outside. I remember building huts in the wood pile and other places to get shelter from the wind. I thoroughly enjoyed being outside after long winters inside.
One of my favorite memories of spring is coloring eggs and then participating in at least one Easter egg hunt. We used boiled eggs for our hunts as we had many hens; then we ate boiled eggs for days after Easter. My family observed the Sabbath Day on Easter Sunday just we did every week. We attended Sunday School in the morning and then returned to the building after evening chores for Sacrament Meeting. In between the two meetings we colored Easter eggs and maybe ate our lunch outside. I do not remember any particular lesson, but I learned about Jesus Christ. I learned of His life and ministry as well as His teachings and example. I learned about His betrayal by a “friend” and His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgotha. I understood that His Resurrection was the most important part of Easter.
When I became a mother I continued to celebrate Easter with my family, but I separated the secular from the spiritual. The Easter bunny came on Friday night instead of Saturday night; he always hid the children’s Easter baskets and the children loved to look for them. We colored a few Easter eggs on Saturday, but we kept them in the refrigerator and used plastic eggs for our egg hunts. I remember only one outside Easter egg hunt in all the years. Since there was deep snow on the grow on most Easters, our egg hunts took place in our living-dining area – in an animal’s mouth, behind the leg of the couch, under the center section of the dining room table, etc. Of course, as the children grew older, the egg hunts ended; in fact, we barely had time to color eggs between running to games and practices or other activities. We always went to our Sunday meetings and enjoyed an Easter dinner together.
I was pleased when I learned that my children were continuing to separate the secular celebration of Easter with the spiritual celebration of the atoning sacrifice of the Savior. Even little children know the difference between the fun stuff like Easter eggs and baskets and the resurrection of the Lord. The children seem to understand that Sunday is for the Savior.
I do not know where I got the idea to have the Easter bunny come on Friday night instead of Saturday. I do know that my children were surprised when they first learned that the Easter bunny visited other families on Saturday night. I was pleased to read a recent article about another mother who decided to separate the secular side of Easter with the spiritual one. The author too has found that it is possible to have the fun of Easter and the spiritual feast of commemorating the Atonement of Jesus Christ.