I’ll probably take some heat for this.
But then, my wife and I have taken heat for our stance regarding the holiday icons since the birth of our first child (we have four), so what’s new?
Before we had children, we discussed what we would do regarding Santa Claus, the “Easter Bunny,” Halloween, and even the Tooth Fairy. None of our children have ever thought that Santa Claus delivered Christmas presents, none have ever received an Easter basket or eggs, and none have ever been paid for losing a tooth under the guise that the Tooth Fairy has some macabre enamel fetish.
They are, for the most part, normal children. (I say “for the most part” because the eight-year-old actually likes salad).
I am not, with this revelation, attempting to convert avid icon-officianados to our way of thinking. I do, however, wish to demonstrate that it is actually possible to celebrate Christian holy days such as Christmas and Easter without all the unrelated accoutrements. And contrary to the dire pronouncements by all your family and friends, doing so will not cause your children to be weird.
Yesterday we went the entire day without speaking of the “Easter Bunny.” We did not paint eggs. We did not hunt eggs. We had no need to explain the biological and philosophical problems caused by the imagery of a bunny laying eggs. Yet there was not wailing, there was no crying, there was no “egg envy” for which we had to offer sanctified substitutes.
(However, contraband chocolate eggs were discovered in the picnic ice chest, but were eaten by the kids as simply chocolate. An investigation is pending.)
What we did yesterday was go as a family to worship services with the rest of our faith family. We had an open-air Easter service under a tent, celebrated resurrection with the ordinance of baptism, and fellowshiped with the faith family during a picnic on the grounds.
We sang songs about the glory of the cross, the greatness of the Messiah, and the redemption of God. We heard preaching about the curse of death, about the glories won for believers in the cross and Christ’s resurrection, and about the new life believers have because Jesus rose from the dead.
I don’t contend that participating in holiday icons will make your children weird (growing up, I did all of them…ok, not the best argument).
What I do contend is that they are not necessary. Putting them aside helps us to focus on the birth, on the death, on the resurrection of the Lord we follow.