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From the beginning, my mom informed me that fictional figures, such as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, were simply imaginary characters that parents used to make life more fun for their kids. So, it was hard for me to understand when one of my friends still believed in the Easter Bunny at 10 years old. He legitimately thought the Easter Bunny would tunnel through his house to bring him gifts, and he had as much faith in this belief as any. If you're a parent or a parent-to-be, this example might hit a nerve. If kids put that much trust in something fictional, where do you draw the line between fantasy and truth?
As Easter approaches, there are a lot of cute, family-friendly activities, and the Easter Bunny is a central part of the festivities. All the Peeps, chocolate-filled eggs, and bunny ears seem as innocent as can be. However, when we consider the resurrection of Jesus, we can see that Easter is about a lot more than springtime and yummy treats. We contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made for us, and we celebrate that He rose again. It's a serious and life-changing topic, yet it's okay to include the fun stuff too. I don't believe there's a black and white answer to "Should my kids believe in the Easter Bunny?" Instead, every child is different, and you'll need to seek discernment to handle the topic.
The best place to start, in any situation, is to pray to God for wisdom. Next, it's helpful to have all the facts to make an informed decision. Let's look at where the Easter Bunny comes from (No, it's not from a hole in the ground).
You might think bunnies are associated with Easter simply because they fit the image of springtime, but there is a bit more to its origin story. There are a couple of theories about where the rabbit folklore began, and they all point to the significance of new life. There is evidence that the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess Eostre first inspired the rabbit imagery, as she was viewed as the goddess of spring and fertility. From those roots, folklore of an Easter rabbit who delivered eggs made its way into German literature and eventually spread to America. There are also religious ties to rabbits that represent virginity and the miracle of Jesus' birth. Also, we all know bunnies can't lay eggs, but eggs have historically been a symbol of renewal in many cultures and were traditionally eaten on Easter to mark the end of Lent (in the Middle Ages, eggs and meat were prohibited during Lent).
No matter where the Easter Bunny came from, it is now an ingrained part of our culture that your children will encounter. Similar to superheroes or parables, fictional creatures like the Easter Bunny can point to a meaningful theme, as long as they don't replace biblical role models. If you're confused about what you should tell your kids about the Easter Bunny, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Am I comfortable with the history? We don't know for sure where our Easter ideas began, but we know that the Bible doesn't mention the Easter Bunny. Like many of our traditions, that doesn't make it wrong. That also means it is entirely up to you if you want your child to entertain the idea. Rather than banning anything Easter Bunny-related from your child's life, you can also use this as an opportunity to explain how symbols can be used to represent many things. If you don't want your child to believe in the fairy tale of the Easter Bunny, you can still use the bunny as a fun reminder of the joy and life we can have because of Jesus.
How will I define truth?If you don't want your kids to miss out on the excitement of an adorable bunny that arrives with treats, then your dilemma is how to differentiate between fantasy and lying. Make sure to have a clear conversation about the meaning of Jesus and that everything we enjoy is only possible through God's creation. Next, let your child know that the Easter Bunny is there for fun and isn't a figure to put our faith in. Let them know that above all, God is the truth that will always remain, while many things in life are just parts of how we grow and explore. Last, based on your child's maturity, how will you be intentional about the truth about the Easter Bunny? Many kids gradually let go of fictional beliefs as they mature, but it's still important to discuss trust and your reasons for letting them believe.
How will I spark their interest in Jesus?Young children can struggle to understand the concept of salvation, and the topic can bore them. That is when popular Easter activities can come in handy. What gets your child's attention? You can have them dye eggs to symbolize transformation, create a poster of a Bible verse such as Romans 10:9, make Easter story stones and do a scavenger hunt, or do a resurrection craft that they can share with friends. You can even have them write their own Easter Bunny "parable" that incorporates Jesus into the message.
Ultimately, what you teach your kids depends on what you believe. The more you trust God's purpose for your life, the more clarity you will have in the decisions you make for your children. Your actions will speak louder than your words, and your relationship with Jesus will mold theirs. So as you consider the meaning of Easter, how can you use this season to experience renewal through Jesus?Check out our Easter service times for kids and adults!
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.