There was much consternation earlier this month over the decision by the National Trust to leave the word Easter out of its adverts for this year’s Easter egg hunts. Instead the public were invited to “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts”. Many church leaders denounced the move. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were equally vocal on the subject. Eventually, the National Trust backed down and added the words “this Easter” to the adverts, as well they should.
However, there was something about this whole debate that made me smile. The word Easter is not found in the bible. In fact, it is derived from the name of an Anglo Saxon goddess, called Eostre. (The symbols of the goddess were the hare and the egg.) I couldn’t help but notice the irony of church leaders arguing so vociferously for the name of a pagan god!
Of course that is not really the point. The point is to remember Jesus. The Son of the true God, who willingly sacrificed himself for you and me. He defeated sin and death, raised back to life on that first Easter Sunday. It is sad to see the true meaning of Easter being lost in a tidal wave of commercialism. In a Telegraph poll, 91% of people agreed that religion is being airbrushed out of Easter. Let’s do what we can to proclaim Jesus this Easter time.
In fact, I am not being entirely fair to those who have defended the term Easter. An alternative theory for the word’s derivation is that it comes from the Hebrew word for Passover, pascha. When Martin Luther translated the bible into German in 1522, he took 1 Corinthians 5:7, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” and used the word Osterlamm for Jesus. Literally, he is our Easter Lamb. One sacrifice for all people, for all time.
So maybe Easter is in the bible. Certainly Jesus is in Easter. I hope you get to know Him a little better during this holiday season.