It was a normal enough Monday afternoon.
Monday was behaving in typical fashion, and I was just waiting for the work day to finish. Suddenly my phone beeped at me calling for my attention. As it was late Monday afternoon, any distraction would do. So I checked to see what the notification was for.
It was a tag on Facebook to an article that has had the thoughts in my head turning ever since reading it. The article comes from a blog called Scary Mommy and the title of the post is “When the Heck Did Easter Become the New Christmas?” (Click the post tittle to see the entire post). One section in particular caught my attention and stuck out to me:
What happened, America? Easter used to be the simple holiday; the one you barely even had to acknowledge if you weren’t celebrating it for religious reasons. Now, it’s yet another day of the year we’re expected to shower our kids with mountains of plastic crap they don’t need and organize a full day of meals, gatherings, and activities. – Ashley Austrew, posted at http://www.ScaryMommy.com
The statistics referenced in the article were startling! Has commercialism and/or consumerism taken over this religious holiday? My answer would be not really in our house. We choose to try to spend more time and energy on the religious significance of the holiday.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t take part in some of the fun traditions. Mr. Max will be eagerly searching for his basket on Easter morning, but it will contain mostly candy. We do tend to add non-candy items to the basket as well, but they are small things — a small stuffed animal, a book, and a couple of neat mineral rocks as geology has become a new interest of his.
While we do enjoy watching the search every year, these fun family activities aren’t usually our main focus during the holiday season, be it Advent or Lent. A part of our family traditions yes, but not the main focus.
Oddly enough though this consumerism attitude has come into our home ever so slightly this year. Just last week Mr. Max was telling me about all of the things he is hoping for in his basket this year. My response to him? “This isn’t Christmas you know.”
There always seems to be something taking place at our church that my husband and I look forward to during holiday seasons as well. We have been able to pass this tradition on to our son too. He will tell you that he looks forward to the Christmas Eve service at Midway each year. I look forward to singing the hymns that are only sung during this season.
We are very focused on the fact that this holiday is in remembrance of our Saviour going to the cross for us to give us the gift of sacrificial saving grace. It is the celebration of Jesus triumphing over death and his redeeming love for mankind.
With the wheels spinning in my head it isn’t long before I am wondering if there is a reason Easter is becoming the new Christmas. Is it possibly because the folks that are buying the gifts to beef up baskets are more focused on the gifting part of things rather than the religious aspect of it?
Is there a connection between the loss of religion in general in a Post-Christendom culture and the increase in spending at Easter? Does removing the religious origins of this holiday cause us to spend more on the gifts/baskets because the focus is now more commercial/consumerist?
Is spending up because faith is down?
— The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence. – A.W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God —
We have seen time and again that we seek to fill voids within ourselves that can only truly be filled by God. We struggle to be self-sufficient. We don’t want to depend on anyone else. So it would stand to reason that as we forget the religious significance of Easter it is leaving a void in our souls. We as humans seek to fill this void by shopping:
- we shop for basket fillers
- we shop for the perfect Easter outfits
- we shop for food for a fabulous feast
- we shop for decorations to make our homes more festive for the season
Isn’t it odd that we are even celebrating the holiday if we aren’t celebrating it for the religious reasons? In our church communities we mourn that Jesus Christ seems to be absent in the ways our society celebrates Easter (or Christmas). We pray for the unchurched who are missing “the reason for the season.” How many times have we heard this expression said? How many times have I said this very thing?
Does this signify that we are fearful that the evil one is winning the day, even though we know he has already lost the war. Perhaps it isn’t just the unchurched that have lost faith. The claim could be made that perhaps we as Christians are trying to take over for God in a way and make sure that the reason for the season becomes the focus again. We are showing a lack of trust in Him who knows all that has been and all that will be.
However, perhaps we are looking at this trend all wrong after all. Maybe the Enemy has started his victory dance a little too early.
What better way to start a conversation with someone on the status of their belief or unbelief than to ask them, “So, what does Easter mean to you?” This little question will lead to wonderful doors that will open up for conversations on the concept of saving grace to take place!
When we share the Easter Gospel with someone, we are sending out the Word of God. Essentially we are offering a life line. Planting a seed. We can’t make people take ahold of the message we are offering to them. But we can know with confidence that if we sow the Word in people, the Holy Spirit will come back to gather the harvest when the time is right.
Hallelujah!! He is risen, he is risen indeed!
Death has been conquered!
No one can remove the reason for the season as long as there are still faithful people out there spreading the love of God.
Keep sowing the seeds of the gospel.
It always produces.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:10-11 (NRSV)