While teens like to pretend they are just too cool to bother with things like Easter bunnies and colored eggs, the appeal of such symbols cannot be denied. When looking for ways to engage teens in the Easter message, don't overlook the simple fact that talking the meaning behind some of the symbols can interest even a teen who thinks he or she is "way beyond" such childish things. In fact, having an Easter egg-dying party might even get the most reluctant teen to join in at least a little.
Many of the most popular symbols of Easter have religious backgrounds, and in their past they conveyed at times a profoundly Christian message. The years have passed into centuries. The symbols have remained, but the messages have been lost.
Recovering the messages is an excellent opportunity to remind teens about God and about the love and mercy that come with salvation in Jesus.
Possibly no popular symbol of Easter is better known than the Easter bunny. It is true that rabbits, like all mammals, thrive in the warmer temperatures of springtime. As part of this activity, renewed after the darkness and cold of winter, rabbits mate and reproduce, and the presence of rabbits now not only includes animals much more active, and therefore visible, but there are young rabbits.
Drawing probably from this natural development is an Old World legend. It is that early that first Easter morning the only living creature present in the garden in which the Lord had been buried was a rabbit.
Of all creatures, only this rabbit actually witnessed the momentous event of the Resurrection. The experience forever transformed the rabbit and indeed its species. The Resurrection was a triumph of good over evil, of peace over conflict, of justice over intrigue, of love over selfishness, and of life over death.
Seeing the Resurrection, and the sight of the Risen Lord, left the rabbit the gentlest and least threatening of all the animals. Realizing from its vision of the Resurrection the triumph of God, in Jesus, over nature itself, everything came into perspective. Nothing is to be gained by aggression.
Witnessing Christ’s brilliant return to earthly life, however, left another mark upon the rabbit and its entire species. The Resurrection came with a burst of light as bright as the sun itself. It came with a great blast of noise, befitting the fact that it was utterly unique in human experience, a happening that totally shattered the otherwise unchallenged laws of nature.
The great light, and great exclamation, of the elements so shocked the rabbit in the garden that forever after this rabbit, and its entire species, are nervously awaiting the next moment of Christ’s coming, the Second Coming at the end of earthly time.
Knowing by experience that Christ is God, with absolute dominion over nature, the rabbit and its species have no doubts that the Lord will come again. After all, Christ promised to return to earthly life after physical death. He rose indeed. He promised to come again in a final Day of Judgment and finality. He will come.