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The Easter Egg

VC Note:  As some of you know, over the past two weeks I have been revising and adding to my second novel, a story of religious intrigue.  Yesterday, it just passed the 20,000 word mark!  From time to time, I have posted updates of my progress on Facebook and have gotten several requests for samples of my work.  Unfortunately, this novel is not publicly available at this point.  However, to give you a small taste of my style in writing fiction, here is an extremely brief tale I wrote back on Easter of 2013.  I hope you enjoy!

easter-eggThe Easter Egg

By Joshua Huffman

3/31/13

There once were two friends, a young boy and a young girl.  Over the last several months they had become the best of friends, the type who had so much in common and shared everything with each other, from what kinds of foods were their favorites, to their hopes for the future, to their deepest, darkest secrets; the ones that they hid from everyone else.

That Easter these two got together, along with a bunch of other kids, to take part in an egg hunt that the villagers had prepared.  Working as a team, they found the hidden eggs, many more than most of the others, but the quantity of eggs they gathered mattered far less to either of them than the moments they shared enjoying each other’s company.

Toward the end of the hunt, the girl found a particularly unusual egg.  She called her friend over and showed him this amazing treasure that she had discovered.  The boy marveled over the egg for quite a long while; it was the most beautiful object he had ever seen, a dazzling kaleidoscope of the deepest blues and most vibrant greens.

Seeing how much he stood in awe of her new possession, she gladly offered it to her friend.  He refused, sensing its value and feeling unworthy of it, saying that she was the one who had found it and, even if she hadn’t discovered its location, she still deserved it more than he.  However, she insisted that it would mean far more to her if she knew that he had it, rather than if she kept it.

Gratefully the boy accepted this wonderful present from his friend and felt a peculiar flutter in his heart as the girl carefully transferred the egg from her hands to his and their eyes met.

The hunt now over, each participant returned home.  Walking back through the forest, the boy was brimming with indescribable joy.  He bounded happily through the woods, skipping along the journey, and whistling a happy tune.  Not only did he have the great fortune to spend considerable time with a friend whose company he enjoyed more than anyone else’s, but he now carried an important package: a gift that instantly became his greatest possession, not because of some supposed immense financial worth, but made priceless because of the love and sacrifice of the friend who freely gave it to him.

Thinking only of the egg, and therefore not watching where he was going, the boy accidentally strayed a little from the dirt path.  His foot struck a small rock and although it only caused him the slightest of pain, his hands clenched around his egg so that he wouldn’t drop it.  Unfortunately, in the attempt to save his precious package from falling to the earth, he gripped it a little too tightly.  He heard a loud cracking sound and felt something wet in the palms of his hands.

Awash in a feeling of dread, the boy slowly opened his hands to survey the egg.  Much to his horror, he saw that the shell now had a long crack down the middle, a small piece had broken free, and yolk leaked through his fingers and was forming a small pool on the forest floor below.

Not knowing what else to do, the boy tried to force the shell fragment back into its proper place, but his plan only made the hole larger and he grew frustrated and overwhelmed with despair.  Overcome with grief, with no more ideas on how he could fix this problem, he plopped himself down on the ground and cried.  He cried for the loss of the egg, of course, because he thought he would never see something so beautiful again, but he cried, too, for the girl, the friend who gave it to him, and for everything it represented.

And so he sat, deep among the trees and moss, where no one else could hear him, where no one else could help him, and wept for this fragile egg; he wept until he could weep no more.

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To all my fellow Christian friends out there, I have what may sound as a radical suggestion for you…forget Easter. “What?!?” you might say.  Don’t you think it is important to remember the resurrection?  Absolutely.  The resurrection is a cornerstone of the faith.  As Paul reminds us “And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless.” 1 Corinthians 15: 13 (NLT).

So what’s the deal with Easter?  The problem is that Easter is not a Christian holiday.  It is of pagan origins.  For starters, how many times does the day Easter show up in the Bible?  Unless you have a King James translation of the Bible, the answer is almost certainly zero.  For the record, in the King James version, Acts 12:4 reads, “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”  Now even if you hold that Easter and the resurrection of Jesus are related, using the term Easter makes no sense here.  Why would Herod, of whom the above verse references, care about Easter?  Therefore, every (or most every) other translation uses the word Passover as opposed to Easter.

Easter itself is named after a pagan goddess, Eostre, and was a celebration of this goddess and the coming of spring.  Europeans celebrated this rite (or one similar) long before they had ever heard of Jesus.

So how did the most important date in Christianity and this pagan holiday wed?  After all, we know that Jesus’ death and resurrection historically took place before, during, and after the Jewish Passover.  Why then is his resurrection not tied to the dates of Passover?

Prior to the First Council of Nicaea in 325, some Christians celebrated the Resurrection at the same time that Jews celebrated Passover, while others did not.  At the Council, the majority opinion further distanced Christianity from its Jewish roots by detaching the celebration of the Resurrection with Passover.  The dates of Passover, taking place from the 15th of Nisan to the 21st, differed from year to year as the Jewish people use a lunisolar calendar (as opposed to a lunar year used both by the Julian calendar then and our Gregorian calendar now). The celebration of the resurrection was to now take place on the first Sunday after the full moon taking place after the vernal equinox, March 21.

With the Resurrection now divorced from the Passover, as Christianity spread to Northern Europe it supplanted and mutated with the previous pagan religions.  Old gods and goddesses such as Eostre fell out of favor but their holidays and festivities did not.  In order to make the transition easier, many local traditions melded with this new religion.  Thus bunnies and eggs, reminders of fertility, the arrival of spring, and foreign gods now share equal, or even greater time with the true Christian meaning for this holiday.

For example, while suffering with the flu a few weeks back, I visited my local drug store.  Signs wished customers a “happy Easter” and their shelves were filled with related products.  Guess how many mentions or images of Jesus, the crucifixion, and the resurrection I could find?  Zero.  The shelves were stocked with eggs and bunnies created from a variety of chocolates and other sweets.  Given a choice between Eostre and Jesus, clearly paganism wins out in our society.

The resurrection, like the birth of Christ, has become a mere marketing tool steeped in the religions of old!  For my commentary on the Christmas season, read ‘Tis the Season Part 1 and Part 2.

Looking back, it didn’t have to end up like this.  But the willingness to modify Christianity to coincide calendar-wise with old festivals, as well as a refusal to stand up for the true meaning of our holidays has led us to this state.  As opposed to focusing on Jesus, the Messiah, we now have Santa, the Quid Pro Quo Materialist god, and the Easter Bunny, the Chocolate god.

What would be the easiest solution?  Although many might scoff at the idea, change the dates of the commemoration of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus away from pagan holidays and back to their historic norms (likely sometime in September and the Passover).  Without the present trappings, maybe everyone will recognize Christian holidays as being about something else…Jesus perhaps?

If you want to celebrate both Easter and Christmas for the seasons that they have become, feel free to do so.  Just don’t confuse a Cadbury cream egg or a basket of plastic grass as a sign of anything Christian.

Until next time!

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