North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

More people attend church on Easter Sunday than any other day. The only exception is Mother’s Day. Every year when spring arrives many churches present special Easter programs highlighting the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s also a family tradition for many to color Easter eggs, hide them on the lawn, and have their children run around excitedly looking for these treasures of the day. Stuffed bunnies and chocolate rabbits line the shelves of stores in promotion of this annual holiday. There’s a sense of renewal this time of the year because the trees are budding out, flowers are blooming, and it seems the birds in the trees sing a little louder. Things are becoming new once again. It’s a fun and festive time for sure!      But what do colored eggs and the Easter rabbit have to do with Jesus Christ’s resurrection? How did these secular symbols come to be associated with Easter? Creation myths of many ancient people focused on the egg and the universe being born from it. In ancient Egypt and Persia, people would exchange decorated eggs at the spring equinox. This was representative of their New Year. Eggs were considered a symbol of fertility to them because a live creature could be born from an egg and this intrigued them.      Like eggs, rabbits were tagged to Easter because they were also potent symbols associated with ancient fertility rites. Like Santa Claus and Christmas presents, children are usually told that the Easter eggs are brought by the Easter bunny. Rabbits are part of pre-Christian fertility symbolism because of their reputation to reproduce rapidly. However, Peter Cottontail has never had a religious meaning.      Neither Jesus nor his apostles ever sanctioned the Easter holiday. It was not until Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea in 325 did Easter replace the Passover, the Biblical ceremony Jesus and the apostle Paul told Christians to observe. Since the secular symbols of eggs and rabbits were officially adopted by the Catholic Church centuries after Jesus ascended to heaven, should Christians celebrate this holiday or encourage others to do so? I enjoyed the thrill of the hunt for Easter eggs as a child. And I even raised rabbits for a period of time as a teenager. So, my thoughts on this part of Easter are all positive. However, to hunt eggs, supposedly left by the Easter bunny, and to give no thought to the resurrection, is to miss the whole purpose of the day! Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s also important to understand God wants us to first worship in spirit and truth, not to recycle ancient customs only. John 4:23 says, “The time is here now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God wants these kinds of worshipers.”      The Easter season represents how much God loves us and what Jesus has done for all of us. He chose to die a cruel and painful death for our sins; so that we might recognize what he has done, accept him as the risen Savior, and then enjoy an abundant life he said he came to give us. Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10). Perhaps you’re wondering when this abundant life will begin for you. Maybe you’re struggling at this moment to find purpose for living.      There’s good news! Every new day is another opportunity to do things better than yesterday. Consider the hope that a new day can bring. And know that if you belong to Christ, you are a new person! The Bible says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Like the new sprouting growth of spring, you can begin life afresh and anew because God will forgive you and set you on a new path of prosperity and hope. What joy can be yours if you will just accept Jesus into your heart? Be aware, each new day offers you countless ways of wandering off of your intended path. Sometimes you wander aimlessly in a lonely wilderness of your own making. If you come to your senses and find yourself lacking strength or in need of a new start—consider the new day a new beginning. Renew your sense of purpose and seize opportunities that present themselves. Some opportunities appear only once or for a short while; so do your best to create a positive effect. And know that life is worth living, because HE LIVES!

  • This weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the author of the newly released book: “Soldiers of God: A Bible Study guide for Spiritual Warfare”. Matthew can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living.
Posted by on Apr 5 2015. Filed under Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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