Be careful about the usual legalism that comes around every holiday. At Christmas, some who claim to be Christians will try to steal our joy in celebrating the birth of Jesus. They do this by pointing out all of the so-called pagan practices we are participating in with some of the customs. NO one thinks of those things as having anything to do with druids, Saturnalia, and the winter solstice and magic Yule logs etc. But there are “Christians” out and about warning you that you are participating in pagan rituals and even opening the door to demonic influence in your life.
The same is true at Easter. If you call this next Sunday “Easter Sunday” – some will say, “Oh! So you are fine marrying the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus with the celebration of a pagan fertility goddess named “Eostre” from English and Germanic cultures! I’ll pray for you!”
But all of this comes from an English monk who lived in the late 7th to early 8th centuries whose name was Veberable Bede. Aside from him, there is absolutely no credible evidence of such a goddess or celebration among English, Anglo-Saxons or Germanic peoples. Bede was confronted about these claims and admitted to have speculated and that he did not know any of this to be defensibly true. But Christians have read these ideas that go back to him and believe they are true.
Even pagans know the meaning of Easter is not bunnies or Easter eggs much less some goddess named Eostre! We use the name Easter much like we use the names of the days of the week.
Some people say we should only call it “Resurrection Sunday” (deep down they don’t even think we should be celebrating it at all since Christians celebrate the resurrection every Sunday). But, if they want to be consistent they should not call it “Sunday” since the Romans named it “Sunday” in honor of the sun god. And Thursday originated from the worship of the god Thor. Friday was in honor of “Frigga” the wife of the supreme god Odin. And Saturday is in honor of Saturn. Now, they would say, “Well none of us think of those gods when we say what day it is.” I agree. And I’d reply that “You’re right. And no one thinks of some pagan fertility goddess (which never existed anyway), when we say Easter Sunday either.
So – be sure to feel free to call this next Sunday Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday. Romans 14:1 is where Paul urges us “not to quarrel over opinions.” If someone thinks calling it Easter is wrong – they should call it something else. But this is one of MANY things they should keep to themselves.
An article I read says that our celebration of Easter “rests not on its title of the celebration but on its content – namely, the remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection.” So feel free to say “Happy Easter”.
Let’s be ready to have a centered focus on the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus this coming Sunday.