Interesting fact…did you know that the first White House Easter Egg Roll was held at the White House today in 1877? In 1877, April 2 was the Monday before Easter, kicking off Holy Week. There are all sorts of theories on where the traditions of Eggs and Bunnies come from as it relates to Easter, what we do know is that the Easter Hare (Bunnie) like Santa has been used to connect the celebration to Children for a very long time. The first explicit reference to the tradition was made in Germany in 1682, but it is very likely that this tradition was at least several hundred years old at the time. We may not know exactly how the tradition came to exist, but we do know that its purpose, like the purpose of Lent and Holy Week, was to prepare people for Easter.
Also like Santa Clause, the tradition has largely been lost by commercialization. It has become so secular as to have very little religious imagery left. But the tradition itself isn’t important. What matters is the preparation for Easter. Before I ask you the question, I’ll admit that so far this year I have not done enough to get my heart and mind ready for Easter. But let me ask, what have you done to prepare yourself for Easter? What have you done to prepare your family for Easter? If we are not careful, Easter is just another Sunday. Maybe we get a little more dressed up, maybe we put on some new dress clothes, maybe we spend time with family, but what is really different? Do we…do I…do you…really consider the cross of Christ and His resurrection any more than any other Sunday?
I love the song “Be Thou My Vision.” It is one of my favorites. As I was sitting in my office this morning, Ascend the Hill’s version of this song began to play and I took the time to look up the song. The words to the song date back to the 6th Century, somewhere between 550 and 598, to Saint Dallán Forgaill, an Irish Saint. I took the time to read a translation of the original Irish poem and like the song, the main theme of the song is absolute dependence and love for God. Listen to some of the lines from the original poem.
Be thou every good to my body and soul. | Be thou my kingdom in heaven and on earth.
Be thou solely chief love of my heart. | Let there be none other, O high King of Heaven.
Till I am able to pass into thy hands | My treasure, my beloved through the greatness of thy love.
Be thou alone my noble and wondrous estate. | I seek not men nor lifeless wealth.
Let me put that in my own words, in the form of a prayer: “God, you are everything good in my life, you are all I need now and forever. You are the love of my life, there is no other, King of Heaven. Until I die and see you face to face, you are my treasure and my great love through the power of your love for me. You alone give my life value, I will not put any relationships or worldly treasure ahead of you.”
Please take time over the next few days…everyday over the next few day and prepare your heart for Easter. If you have kids, take time to help them understand what Easter is all about. Otherwise, it’s just another Sunday morning.