Good Egg or Bad Egg: the pros and cons of an Easter egg hunt

 

Why Egg Hunts are a Promising Idea - Amy Cook


Easter is becoming a commercialized holiday.  Malls invite parents to bring children (and pay) for photos with the Easter Bunny.  Home stores have all kinds of decorations and “spring colors” to liven up your home and decorate with chicks, bunnies, and flowers. And the candy aisles are now filled with chocolates and jelly beans and the stacks of baskets and fake grass. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to buy presents for the Easter basket and buy new clothes – even if attending church is never a part of the Easter morning ritual.  It is all out there in our consumerism culture, and families are already buying into a lot of it, often with little or no knowledge of the religious roots. Churches have an opportunity to meet families where they already have interest by holding egg hunts, and other Easter activities.  Often parents don’t really know how to talk with their kids about Easter. Let’s face it, Jesus dying on the cross is not a pleasant story, and the resurrection is hard to understand. So the church can help families by using something like an egg hunt to teach faith.  The bottom line is to be intentional in your offerings with many different entrances into spiritual formation.

Here are some resources to help you utilize the Easter Egg Hunt for formation and outreach at your parish.

Why Eggs on Easter: Eggs can be a symbol of new life! This article explains the symbolism of the egg and the grass in the basket, as well as a story about Mary Magdalen and why she is often depicted holding a red egg. (Speaking of Mary Magdalen, Dr. Susannah Singer (CDSP) suggested having someone dressed as Mary Magdalen visit the egg hunt and share her story of meeting the risen Christ, and why she carries a red egg.)

How to Reinvent your Easter Egg Hunt for Good: Here’s an article on reinventing the Easter Egg hunt and turning the focus towards those in need. When updating Egg Hunts, what if the priest comes out at the end and blesses each child with the sign of the cross of their forehead – showing parents that children are blessed and welcomed in the space.

Eggs for Easter: Have a time of intergenerational egg decorating and share the tradition and stories of decorated eggs:

Hand in Hand for Easter Eggs: Here is a story of a church hosting an egg hunt for special needs kids.

Finding Jesus in Egg Hunts and Easter Baskets:  This collection of articles helps you refocus on the rich tradition and meaning behind Easter traditions and encourages churches to help families reclaim the religious roots of these practices.

 

Egg Hunts: Something Rotten - Caren Miles


Easter is becoming a commercialized holiday and we can't fight fire with fire. Why do what everyone else is doing? Once the excitement wears off and the candy is gone, will they know the difference between your egg hunt and the one at the local park?

Families can get eggs and bunnies and crowds and candy just about anywhere other than church. You know what they can't get anywhere else? You. Your ministry. The love of Christ that lives in your community. 

I love the pictures of the egg hunts I've organized in the past. They look so good. The colors! The smiles! The cute little outfits! But look just below the surface and there was a stress level that just about ruined every Easter for me. When you have that much adrenaline, sugar, kids, parents, cameras, clergy, and energy in one room it can only end in tears. 

Someone is going to knock someone smaller over. You will need at least one band-aid. A parent will do something unspeakably rude for an egg with 8 cents worth of candy. One family will show up 30 minutes late and be upset all the eggs are gone. A balloon will end up tangled in the chandeliers in the sanctuary. Chocolate will get into places chocolate doesn't belong. (all of these are true stories that happened to me...)

What's the point of an Easter Egg Hunt? 
If you're doing outreach to the families in the neighborhood they're going to be awfully disappointed when there isn't candy and excitement when they come back next week. 
If you're trying to share the love of Christ, there are better and more direct ways of doing that. 
If you're trying to evangelize and tell the story of Easter... uhh, can you tell how you do that, cause I have no idea how bunnies + eggs = resurrection. 

There are much better ways to take part in Easter without requiring a trip to the dentist. 

One of my favorite Easter activities is flowering the cross. A simple cross covered in chicken wire (a men's group or scout troop could make this for you easy) is all it takes. Families can bring flowers, you can provide them for them, or your kids can make them using pipe cleaners and tissue paper. You can do this before the service, during Children's Chapel or Sunday School, or after the service. 

Easter Sunday is your chance to get past the hype. Sugar highs lead to a big crash. Excited children eventually need a nap. Overextended parents need a community to support them. How can we help families past the stress of trying to have the perfect holiday, and welcome them into the fullness of the Easter story instead?