To Christians, Easter celebrates the rising of Jesus from the grave and mankind’s triumph over death because of our Savior’s sacrifice. However, when you’re a kid, that important message often gets overshadowed by the Easter bunny, Easter baskets packed with goodies, and the excitement of searching for colored treasures in the famed Easter egg hunt.
Pagan Origins, Christian Meanings
You might cringe at the thought of letting your children participate in an Easter egg hunt. According to History.com, it’s a tradition that traces its roots back to pagan beliefs. Eggs were a symbol of spring, fertility, new life and new beginnings. That symbolism was used in various pagan springtime festivals.
However, it’s not a huge leap to see how Easter eggs can be symbolic of Jesus leaving the tomb and being miraculously resurrected. The tradition of Christians decorating eggs dates back as far as the 13th century, and the pagan meanings have been since replaced by the symbolism of Jesus rising from the grave. The reason for coloring the eggs dates back to the time when it was forbidden to eat them during Lent. They were supposedly decorated in celebration of the Lenten period coming to an end, and then eaten on Easter Sunday.
Let the Kids Have Fun
Given that Easter eggs actually tie nicely into the Christian part of what has become an increasing secular holiday, why not use them to let your kids have fun on the holiday and honor Jesus at the same time? Jesus loved the little ones, as He plainly showed when He ordered the Disciples to let the children come to Him in Matthew:
Then little children were brought to him, that he should lay his hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ones like these.” —Matthew 19:13-14
Surely, He wouldn’t begrudge children having fun on Easter, especially if it’s in a way that can be used to celebrate the holiday’s Christian foundation. Here are some ways to tie an Easter egg hunt to your beliefs:
Discuss the religious symbolism of Jesus’s resurrection. Most children know that chicks hatch from eggs, so tie that to the way in which Jesus emerged from the tomb. You can also tie in an egg’s shape, equating it to the rolling away of the stone from the tomb’s entrance. Hide the Easter eggs in creative places that will surprise the young ones, and equate that tp the surprise that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, who must have been incredibly surprised when they found the tomb open and empty. These are all ways in which you can easily work your beliefs into this event in an educational manner.
Kids Love Competition
Another way to tie Jesus into the Easter egg hunt is to set up a little competition amongst your children. You’ll need to use plastic eggs rather than the genuine hard-boiled kind. Fill most of them with goodies like candy, balloons and the like. But fill a few with slips of paper that have Bible verses relating to the Easter story. Make those eggs the “grand prize winners.” The children who find those Easter eggs get a special prize. Tie it into a Christian theme by giving prizes like a book of Bible stories or a DVD of Christian-themed cartoons.
As you can see, an Easter egg hunt doesn’t have to be sacrilegious. On the contrary, you can tie it in nicely with the ways in which to honor Jesus Christ, while making sure the kids have a great time as well.