In Praise of the Easter Egg Hunt — and the Easter Bunny

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Yesterday I wrote a post about the Hope of Easter.  In it I talked about having seen Rise of the Guardians for the first time, and how I thought it was a great movie, even if it did take creative liberties with the childhood myths of the “guardians” that were part of the movie plot.

Today, in heading to the family Easter dinner and egg hunt, the son started talking about how the Easter Bunny was actually something pagan, not Christian. That got us into a whole conversation about pagan vs. Christian, about borrowing from paganism, and why.

There are a lot of Christians who are skeptical of the myths, of the Easter Bunny, and Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc. They think we should teach our kids only the truth, not “lie” to them and make sure they understand the difference between fantasy and reality. I am not one of them.

I believe the distinction between fantasy and reality as stated is misdrawn. And I believe kids can tell the difference between the fantasy and the true story. And that the pleasure of the fantasy contains an important truth that we hide by denying the power of myth.

G.K. Chesterton says the following in Orthodoxy:

Christianity is the only frame which has preserved the pleasure of Paganism. We might fancy some children playing on the flat grassy top of some tall island in the sea. So long as there was a wall round the cliff’s edge they could fling themselves into every frantic game and make the place the noisiest of nurseries. But the walls were knocked down, leaving the naked peril of the precipice. They did not  fall over; but when their friends returned to them they were all huddled in terror in the centre of the island; and their song had ceased.

Yesterday’s blog talked about Hope’s Song, and the true meaning of Easter. Today, I say, when we focus on the true meaning of Easter, and its hope, we get all the pleasure and magic of paganism into the bargain, without any of its nightmare — but we have to start with the truth first for the magic to follow.

So celebrate the truth, and enjoy the magic.

Happy Easter!

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