On Easter Sunday we discovered we had been robbed. Our house was broken into by a man – we know this because he left his dirty big boot print on the couch under our window. He, literally, stole through the house, trashed our bedroom, collected a camera, the little precious jewelry we had; including heirloom pieces, my original engagement ring and the pearls my daughter, Magic wore on our wedding day. He took an iPod and… my new Macbook. He even let our pet bunny loose onto the street – which was sort of comical, being Easter Sunday and all.
One could almost link this occurrence as a response from the universe to my revolt at our love affair with things, particularly Apple things. It could be seen as some sort of challenge. We were probably just unlucky, but the timing has certainly made me think.
It is upsetting, disappointing and a little scary having someone invade your space and take your mementos and belongings for quick cash. Especially on a day when there is meant to be a holy reverence. But, let’s face it, Easter is, for the majority of Australians, more about consuming chocolate, than Jesus. We consume more easter eggs per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Most alarmingly, Easter, for my daughter is more about consuming chocolate than Jesus. Just like “the robber”, as she likes to call him, Easter has become more about what she will get than taking stock of the most significant event for the human soul in the time-space continuum. Events of 2000 or so years ago mean very little to her compared to cracking and sucking on that sweet brown goo found under the coloured tin foil. Who can blame her? It is tangible, tasty and she is seven. And, for some reason chocolate crucifixes haven’t taken off in the same way as Cadbury bunnies and eggs.
Hmm, can’t see these catching on. They just don’t seem to have that ‘cute’ factor.
With the benefit of hindsight, I realise I have made a massive mistake. I introduced the Easter Bunny and his mate Santa Claus, with little question. My parents did it for us. It seemed mean spirited not to do it. It was about the “magic” and it was kind of fun to put out the stockings, balloons, port, shortbread and reign deer food. It was sweet to watch Magic delirious with excitement in the mornings on an Easter Egg hunt.
That was until it recently became an unhealthy obsession for her. She could not sleep on Easter Saturday, as she anxiously gawked wide-eyed around the dark room, looking for a sign of Easter Bunny. For weeks leading up to Christmas, all she could think about was Santa. With the irony being that she doesn’t actually like Santa. She is petrified of him. She just wanted the goods. The questions were endless, too. The details we had to come up about Santa became more and more elaborate. Until, I found myself writing a long letter from Santa on Christmas eve, pointing her back to the fact that Jesus was the special reason for Christmas and that he was just a big fat man in a suit that didn’t really matter. Yeah, I know, Santa had to give cred’ back to Jesus. It is just not right.
I also found myself a bit annoyed at getting zero credit for the great gifts we gave with our hard earned money on Santa’s behalf. Magic would declare excitedly, “Santa got me a scooter…” and less enthusiastically, “Mummy got me a helmet”. Ok, so that was bad planning on my part. The point is, we have to phase them out. It’s time to go, mythical Fat Man and fanciful Fluffy Bunny.
The meaning has been lost. We need to change the focus.
On Easter Tuesday, my husband and I decided to pray about a bunch of stuff that is concerning us – something we don’t do nearly enough. During this time, my husband began to pray about the robbery. I was genuinely touched by his prayer and my admiration of him went just a little bit deeper in that moment. He did not ask that our things be found and returned to us or that burglar be caught. He prayed for the thief. For his life and for him to find a better way to exist as a human being. That was it.
Let’s just take that in for a minute… Rather than getting mad and asking God for justice – which was warranted, he prayed for mercy and for freedom for this person. Wow. That sends shivers into the deepest recesses of my being. And, well, it reminds me of something. Of someone. I’m not saying my husband is Jesus – although, to my amusement, physically, he bears a remarkable resemblance. It reminds me of what happened at Calvary. Jesus had pretty much been shat on by all; kicked, beaten, broken, stabbed, ridiculed, nailed up to bleed to death – despite doing nothing but promoting good and what were his last words?
“Father, forgive them…”
This profound, even divine shift in focus, from retribution to grace, compassion and forgiveness, is what Easter celebrates. That is what Jesus did.
This is is who Jesus is and what chocolate will never be.
What do you do to make Easter meaningful? What are your feelings about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus? Whatever your religious persuasion, I’d love to hear your thoughts.