Posted by Faye Bell on April 07, 2012 at 21:25:46:
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER?
In this computer world in which we live, if we ever have a question about something, there is always some kind of answer on the Internet for whatever the question may be. In searching, I have found some web sites that give historical(?) information some of us may not know. This week we celebrate Easter, an important confirmation of our Christian faith. The Easter celebration today is a curious blend of the religious and the secular; of Judaism, and Christianity.
Some say the word Easter is derived from Eostre (also known as Ostara), an ancient Anglo-Saxon Goddess. She symbolized the rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the spring. The arrival of spring was celebrated all over the world long before the religious meaning became associated with Easter. As Christianity grew and spread throughout the world, it was common practice to adopt and modify existing non-Christian festivals and assimilate them into the Christian theology. Because Eostre was the goddess of spring and her symbolism dealt with renewal and rebirth, the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ fit well with these themes.
In every other language but English and German, the name Easter is derived from the Hebrew word pesach for 'he passed over', so in Spanish and Italian Easter is Pascua, in French it is Paques, in Portugese it is Pascoa, and so on. Since church proclamation in 325AD, Easter has been celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox. This date was determined by noting that the Last Supper, as Christians came to know it, was actually a Passover seder, and Jesus's resurrection occurred on that Sunday. Passover occurs on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan on the first full moon on or after the Equinox. A further connection to Passover, is the fact that it celebrates the angel of death passing over the houses where the doors were marked with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. The death and resurrection of Jesus is celebrated by Christians as the Son of God became the sacrificial lamb whose blood was shed so that we may have everlasting life.
WHO IS THIS MAN CALLED JESUS?
* He is God made flesh, born of a virgin, who is called the Mother of God.
* He had a humble birth before three shepherds.
* His followers called him the Son of God, and the Light of the World, but he referred to himself as the Son of Man.
* He taught that man did not come to God with animal sacrifices, but by a personal relationship through prayer.
* His followers are born again through their acceptance of His sacrifice and follow Him in water baptism.
* He taught of a celestial heaven and an infernal hell, of eternal salvation, and eternal damnation, of a final day of judgement in which the dead will rise.
* His followers hold Sundays sacred, and partake of a ceremony in which bread and wine are taken to symbolize His body and blood.
* His followers celebrate his birth on 25th December.
* He died on a cross at Easter as a sacrifice for man’s sins.
* On the third day he was resurrected, and ascended bodily into heaven.
HOW DID THE CUSTOM OF THE EASTER EGG AND BUNNY BEGIN?
The EGG and hare (bunny) were symbols of Ostara representing fertility and new life in the Spring. Since ancient times many cultures have associated eggs with the universe. They've been dyed, decorated and painted by the Romans, Gaul's, Persians and the Chinese. They were used in ancient spring festivals to represent the rebirth of life. Dyed eggs also formed part of the rituals of the Babylonian mystery religions, and in Egypt they were hung in temples as symbol of regenerative life.
The BUNNY as an Easter symbol seems to have it's origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 1500's. In many parts of Germany the people believed the Easter bunny laid red eggs on Holy Thursday and multi-colored eggs the night before Easter Sunday. That's where the first edible Easter Bunnies were made from pastry and sugar. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania Dutch country in the 1700's they brought the custom with them. The children believed that if they were good the "Oschter Haws" would lay a nest of colored eggs.
The EASTER BASKET originates from the ancient Catholic custom of taking the food for Easter dinner to mass to be blessed. This, too, mirrored the even more ancient ritual of bringing the first crops and seedlings to the temple to insure a good growing season. This practice, combined with the “rabbit’s nest” of the Pennsylvania Dutch has evolved in the brightly colored containers filled with sweets, toys and the like left for children on Easter morning by the Easter Bunny.
EASTER LILLIES are sometimes called the "white-robed apostles of hope," because they were reportedly found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus' sweat fell to the ground in his final hours.
It's the spirit of rebirth ... of continual life ... of the love and the message of Jesus Christ that means more than whether any of this is historically true or not. The true meaning of Easter? Jim and I sincerely wish that you will be able to find the real meaning of Easter within yourself, and celebrate it in the manner which enriches your personal experience with our Saviour whose sacrifice and resurrection we celebrate this Easter.