Friday, April 11, 2003
BurrowsTombs-Rachel Cunliffe (among others) commented on this Easter basket with military toys in it. I don't think this is mixing religion and politics, for Easter baskets have little to do with religion. The commercial side of Easter has next-to-nothing to do with the resurrection. It's a give-kids-goodies day that serves as an excuse to eat too much candy. If you had a Family Feud question on "words you associate with Easter," eggs and rabbits would skunk resurrection. It's tacky, but it's less tacky than it seems because it has absolutely nothing to do with religion.
At the secular Christmas, the baby Jesus gets a cameo appearance among the Santa Claus stuff. At Easter, the empty tomb is nowhere to be found in the secular realm; only eggs and bunny-rabbits. Christmas was a mid-winter festival that got churchified by bogusly placing the birth of Christ on December 25th. Likewise, Easter is the Rite of Spring, with various fertility symbols (the egg and the rabbit) being the headliner.
The baby Jesus isn't as threatening as the empty tomb. The idea the Jesus was born isn't that threatening. Jesus as an historical figure isn't threatening. Jesus as an is rather than a was is very, very threatening. If you take the story of his resurrection at face value, you have to make the decision of whether that means he is God incarnate or was merely a good teacher or a fable. That's a lot less cozy that the babe in the manger. That's why that tomb doesn't show up in the secular iconography of Easter.
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