Why do people put up pictures of rabbits at Easter time? What does the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord from the dead have to do with fluffy white bunnies?
Some people click their tongues and say that the Easter Bunny isn't a Christian. They say his cult is a pagan invention that has nothing to do with Jesus. But an old European tradition tells a different story:
It was just before dawn on the first Sunday after the Crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus’ followers were in Jerusalem, hiding from the elders who wanted to arrest them.
Out beyond the gates of the city, soldiers stood guarding Our Lord's tomb. A huge stone had been rolled in front of the entrance to block it, and no one dared come near. Well, almost no one.
A young brown rabbit appeared from his burrow for an early morning snack of tender new grass and garden shoots. He didn't know that this day would be unusual.
Suddenly, there was a roar as loud as 20 peals of thunder. The earth shook, and there was a blinding flash of light. An angel of the Lord streaked down from Heaven to the huge stone blocking the entrance to the tomb. He flicked the giant rock aside as if it had been a pebble, and sat on it.
St. Matthew says, “His countenance was like lightning,” and his robe like snow. The soldiers, who had braved a hundred battles, collapsed in fear and “became like dead men.” (28: 3–5)
White as an Angel
The frightened bunny, who was really too young to be out this early by himself, didn't move a whisker. The great flash had turned all his fur white.
Jesus stepped forth from the tomb, alive. Reaching down, He scratched the bunny behind the ears and sent him home to tell the Good News of His Resurrection to all God's creatures. Today, the Easter Bunny is as white as the angel who moved the stone. He leaves children sweets, and also eggs—which stand for the promise of great things to come.
Duncan Anderson is the editor of Faith & Family magazine.
Faith & Family Magazine
Faith & Family, the Magazine of Catholic Living, is the Register's sister publication at Circle Media. It is designed to help wives and mothers nurture a Catholic culture at home.
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