Easter – Not all about chocolate, bunnies, or the Easter bear!

A few years ago, pre-children, we went camping to the beautiful Barrington Tops for the Easter long weekend holiday. We hadn’t been in Australia long having emigrated from England. There were a surprising number of local ‘Aussie’ customs and phrases that were unfamiliar to us. Early Easter Sunday morning, we were rudely woken up by the sound of screaming children! It was hard to make out exactly what they were all cheering about until they were practically on top of our tent! They were shouting, “It’s the Easter Bear! The Easter Bear is here!”

Apparently we’re an increasingly secular country? Easter has become almost entirely about chocolate eggs and fluffy bunnies, but what’s with the Easter Bear? Seriously? Imagine the culture shock of seeing a grown man dressed in a bear costume, sitting on the back of an old ute, throwing mini chocolate eggs dozens of young kids as they chased the vehicle through the camp site.

Camping and caravan parks won’t be the only popular destination for people this Easter weekend.

Easter is second only to Christmas on the Christian calendar for attracting larger than usual attendees to church. This coming Sunday will be popular for families and individuals who may only visit once or twice a year.

In the first and second Century, it would have been more common for Christ followers to speak of the resurrection rather than the birth of Jesus. The miracle and witness of Jesus overcoming death caused a ripple among the nations that continues today. But this was more than a miracle story about a man defeating death. It is the significance of God coming in the person of Jesus, living a human life, being tempted, tortured, put to death, and taking on the sin of all humanity – and then showing that not even death could defeat God. This is the good news that millions of people remember when they attend Easter services on Resurrection Sunday. The good news is – we can know God because of this event.

So how did we get from there, to bunnies, chocolate – and bears?

I’m quite the inquisitive type. I like a good mystery, so I investigated. It turned out the local fancy dress shop had run out of Easter Bunny costumes! Phew! Thank goodness. No need to panic folks. For a moment I thought this was a new trend developed by this small rural New South Wales community. It turns out that the Easter bear was a thing back in 1994 when Hanna-Barbera released the TV movie Yogi the Easter Bear. In this film, the race is on to save the true Easter bunny. Perhaps, for you, this year it’s time to get back to the real story of Jesus’ death and resurrection?

Allow me to invite you to be more inquisitive, and enquire into the story of God who loves you so much that he came to die in place of you so that you too could be in relationship with him. If you have questions, our friends at Careline would love to hear from you. Call 1300 302 170.

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