Faith

Should Churches Host Easter Egg Hunts?

Easter and Halloween are a lot alike when it comes to how churches deal with them where kids are concerned.

At Halloween, some churches host an evening designed to give parents and their children a safe place to spend time together, and give kids a place to dress up in costume, get candy and participate in activities related to the fall.

At Easter, some churches host a day designed to give parents and their children a safe place to spend time together, and give kids a place to hunt for colorful “hidden” plastic eggs, get candy and participate in activities related to the spring.

Neither activity has a great deal of connection to anything in scripture: try finding Halloween or an Easter Bunny in the gospels. Churches are happy to attach the name Easter to its Easter Egg Hunt, but many are too scared to attach the name Halloween its fall activities, even though everyone knows that’s clearly what it is.

Some of the religious hardliners out there shake their heads in disagreement when they hear of a church having an Easter Egg Hunt. Both of the churches with which I am currently associated, one on the east coast, the other on the west, hold an Easter Egg Hunt of some kind.

They are fun-filled, family friendly events.

But in neither case is there any attempt made to present an Easter Egg Hunt as a biblical story, nor does anyone suggest that rabbits lay colorful eggs that are filled with candy.

So why would a church hold an Easter Egg Hunt? More importantly, what’s to be gained by doing so?

I think the reason a church can hold such an event is simple: the horror of the crucifixion is entirely too much for a child. Unlike those famous paintings we’ve seen of Christ on a cross, with little to no marks on him other than an occasional spot of blood on the forehead from His crown of thorns, the truth of the torture to which He was subjected is too much for even some adults. The celebration of Easter is his defeat of the ultimate enemy, death itself.

But for a small child, that’s a little too heavy to get into with great detail just yet.

A fun day spent looking for Easter Eggs and the candy inside is far more palatable. After all, it should be up to parents how soon and in how much detail their children experience the reality of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

And this brings us to the question of what’s to be gained by an Easter Egg Hunt.

No, an Easter Egg Hunt is not Biblical. But then no one says it is. And that’s the whole point: it’s a teaching moment. Parents can have a talk to their children on the way home about Easter’s true meaning, or, at the very least, prepare them for the story they’ll hear in some detail the following morning.

“We had a lot of fun today, didn’t we?” a parent might ask his child. And then the conversation might take slight turn like this: “But do you know why Easter is really a time to celebrate?” Let the child describe what, if anything he or she knows about the real meaning of the holiday. The parent can then explain that the Bible tells us that Christ died but then rose again and was able to save us from our sins and give us eternal life. That’s really something to be happy about, isn’t it?”

That’s really all it has to take. It’s about just opening the door for a child to be open to learning about faith and what it’s all about. It’s a way to get a conversation started.

Anyone who dismisses Easter Egg Hunts as something churches shouldn’t do because egg-laying rabbits aren’t to be found in the Bible should consider that any door that opens a genuine conversation about what Easter’s really about is a good thing.

20 Comments

  1. Mark is correct. 

    It
    has been revealed to me that God absolutely, positively, does NOT like bunnies,
    eggs, and Santa Claus. These are idols, and distractions. Whether utilized by accident
    or design, they take away from the truth and meaning of Christmas and the
    Resurrection, especially for children.

    There is no need to substitute in order to have fun during these extremely important holidays.  Teaching children the true meaning of both will bring true joy and happiness to all involved – including the adults!  Here are some possible alternatives to egg hunts: 

    Search for the Resurrected Lamb.  Children follow clues to find a hidden lamb.  Above all other games, children love hunts, and so will be quite attentive when you teach them who the lamb really is.  

    The following is a site for “resurrection rolls”  (good idea, except: don’t use peeps!)
                                      http://www.catholicicing.com/how-to-make-resurrection-rolls-aka/

    This may sound a little unusual, but read John 13: 1-17 and wash each other’s feet.

    A Feast of Firstfruits  would appeal to everyone. Jesus fed a large crowd with fish and bread, and many listened; we can try to do the same. A Seder meal is a good idea at this time of year. The middle matza is striped and pierced and broken, buried (hid) and (hunt) resurrected and ransomed back

  2. […] Easter, Patrick Phillips of Patrick’s Place talked about the controversial question of Should Churches have Easter Egg Hunts? My church answers that question in the affirmative. But what happens at a church Easter Egg Hunt? […]

  3. Worshipping God is about showing His love to the world, making sure that others see the joyfulness and fulfillment having God in your heart brings you. If that involves chocolate and the joy-filled laughter of children, I’m pretty sure God’s there, just as he’s there when the kids are bored out of their skulls during the sermon.  Pretty sure I’ve spotted Jesus (and not just the gardener) at church on Egg Days–and even on Christmas, peeking through the branches of the (fake) tree. However, if others don’t see Jesus there, fine; don’t participate. I’m cool with that. Just don’t tell me what God is doing in my heart; that’s between me and God. He always corrects me when I’ve gone off-course, sometimes with a brick, but usually with a gentle word from a LOVING and concerned angel in my midst.
    I am, however, all about Feasts. Bring on the food! Woot woot woot!!  Ham, potatoes, pie, yup yup–I’m there!

  4. Mark D Miller  

    I would respectfully disagree. 

    “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

    Isn’t having an Easter Egg hunt exactly emulating what Paul said he did?  To our culture, we become a little like our culture so as to win those in that culture (though we ourselves are not part of that culture, for we are not conformed to the pattern of this world, but are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom12:2)).

  5. And I’d say there IS in fact robbery going on at the hunt, the children are being robbed of the true worship that is due their Savior and the proper respect due to Him on a day celebrating HIS resurrection. It wasn’t just about financial dishonesty, it was also about the poor intended worshippers being HINDERED on their way to revere their God. That’s exactly what happens when Resurrection activities sidestep and dilute the festival’s biblical meaning.

  6. Great that you’re aware of the verse. Good job. Now apply it properly and quit attacking those who correct. Maybe next you’ll attack Jesus for being violent and rude to the money changers. I guess Paul was sweet to the Corinthian congregation also. Man o man, I’m the odd one out here.

  7. Mark D Miller  The issue isn’t the verse, of which I am aware, but the WAY you approached your “target.” Do you feel that your rudeness is the kind of approach that will make someone “turn back” to your ideal?

  8. James 5:20
    “let him know that he who did turn back a sinner from the straying of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.”

  9. Mark D Miller  Do you HONESTLY feel that the attitude you’ve just displayed towards someone you have never met and whose heart you DO NOT know is consistent with Jesus’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself?

  10. All I can tell YOU that 85 children were given a supplanted Gospel of Compromise that models for them the standard that Christ gladly shares His glory with false fertility rituals. Your church just helped lead them down the garden path of worldly living. Good job!

  11. brettapearson  Recently Jon Acruff posted that it is difficult to be a Christian online. You can read it here: http://stuffchristianslike.net/2014/02/19/hard-christian-online/#sthash.6nYPtRiF.uxfs

    He contrasts writing about Business principles and writing about Christian principles and comes to the following conclusion:

    “When the business world disagrees with your idea, they critique your idea.
    When Christians disagree with your idea, they critique your soul.”- See more at: http://stuffchristianslike.net/2014/02/19/hard-christian-online/#sthash.6nYPtRiF.3eZIOF3o.dpuf

  12. brettapearson  Do I really think so, Brett? In today’s secular society, I think any SINCERE effort to bring people to the church and into community from which life-changing connections can occur is not only necessary but CRITICAL.
    It sounds to me as if you’re trying to compare ME to the serpent in the garden. I do remember what our Savior did to the money tables at the church, and I must respectfully suggest that YOU reread that passage. He said that the church was to be a house of prayer, not a “den of robbers.” The money changers and merchants were cheating people. There’s no “robbing” going on in an Easter Egg Hunt: nothing is being sold, no money is changing hands. It’s merely an opportunity for the church to attract people who otherwise may not have set foot on church grounds that day to do so. It’s a chance to create a mood in which a real conversation can happen and minds can be opened to the REAL meaning of Easter and Christ’s sacrifice.
    The intent is not to deceive, but rather to give kids an opportunity some DO NOT OTHERWISE HAVE to learn about Christ. For that reason, I must disagree with your contention that Christ would have no part in such an event. I think He’d be right in the middle of the field, cradling every one of His children, telling each one how much they are loved and valued just because He made them.

  13. Do you really think that our Heavenly Father needs to have His church participate in “man made” rituals with ties to pagan spirituality to fulfill the commission of the Gospel?  Reread your bible again.  Especially bringing these “worldly” rituals into the church.  Justification is the premiere guise of the devil.  Remember the serpent in the garden?  “Did The Creator really say you shouldn’t eat of this tree? (or hunt eggs, you fill in the blank)  Simplicity is always the best answer.  What would Jesus do?  Not this.  
    Did we become wiser than The Master when it comes to witnessing?  And especially involving the children in this deception.  There are definite serious consequences for this.  Are you going to take the easter eggs back once they turn to the truth? Come on!  Too much distraction with all the candy.  Jesus and candy or eggs for that matter. 

    Remember what our Savior did to the  money tables at the church.  Maybe He was telling the church that if we do not keep the place of worship sacred, NO MORE MONEY?  Yes the church does need money.  Lights, speakers, media, roofs, cross restoration, salaries, etc are expensive!
    Now, let us reread our bibles again about meat offered up to idols or participating in rituals of Spring and Winter.  If we are good scholars, we will even come across the scriptural passages about the foolishness of the Christmas tree or Christmas for that matter.  I never read about the apostles celebrating the birth of our Savior.  We have all become caught up in these earthly traditions and now they have become part of the church.  How confusing it must be to the children.  I do not expect Santa Claus to show up at church next year but he was a “Saint” right?  Wake up brothers and sisters! 

    There are however appointed feasts that we are commanded to recognize.  Some feasts of which Jesus has fulfilled and the others to show us the season of His second coming.  This should be the new focus of the church, FEASTS.  You want to get people to church?  Have a big celebration with food and Christ centered (people centered) ministry and festivities.  Who can turn down a good meal?  Sounds like to big of a task?  The Father will provide, just bring a couple loaves and a few fish, give thanks and with faith all things will happen according to His will and not OURS!

    1. I’m in agreement with brettpeason, the church is dangerously on a slippery slope, mixing “traditions of men” and justifying it by trying to associate it with what we believe, as pertaining to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note 1 Cor. 11:16 concerning a man insisting on wearing his hair long, “…if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom….” If some churches insist on Easter egg hunts, it’s not edifying to the saints but it’s not going to put you out of God’s favor either. My concern is does this honor God? Whatever thy hand finds to do, do all to the glory of God. More importantly, do a study on the word “Easter” and find it to be a transliteration of the Greek word “Astarte” or the Mesopotamian “Ishtar” or the Hebrew form “Ashtoreth.” These words are names for the pagan Goddess of Fertility. The egg is associated with the pagan practices of Babylonian idolatry and fertility god. The Druids used the egg as their sacred emblem also.
      I prefer to say Resurrection Day as opposed to Easter or Easter Sunday. It might sound extreme to some of you but I am not so naive to think that Satan wouldn’t stoop to deception by trying to distract, replace, or counterfeit every Christian celebration, including Christmas (Santa) with his lying deceiving ways. He has always tried to duplicate our Lord…by trying to be like the Most High God and he’ll do it in Revelations too by forcing everyone to worship him through the Antichrist.
      If people want to be contentious about celebrating Easter and having egg hunts, have at it.

      1. You have to know what’s in your own heart, Bob, and act accordingly. We can’t know what’s in someone else’s heart, however.

        Even if people participate in something you feel falls short, that doesn’t automatically mean God agrees. It may well be that it’s just the experience or presentation they need to bring them closer, not push them farther away.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.