There are days when I really miss the traditions and rituals of the church. At Easter in particular I miss the joy, the music, the sense of hope and possibility. Then I read a blog post like, ‘The Parents Who Ruined the Easter Egg Hunt‘ by the very talented blogger Jen at “People I Want to Punch in the Throat” (Go there, you will be amused and full of admiration for her). She wrote about a Colorado Easter Egg Hunt that was cancelled because so many parents got competitive about it last year that they ruined it for the kids. Her blog post reminded me that so many people celebrate the secular, greedy aspect of Easter and have completely stripped it of any truly religious meaning. They’ve reduced even the secular version of Easter to grubbing for something for themselves and their children.
Not that I hate the Easter Bunny or anything. Far be it for me to condemn the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus – I think they are wonderful examples of selfless giving when presented in the right manner. But I also know that they are fictional constructs, not real, living beings. Much the way I feel about God these days. My problem is when people strip them of even their fictitious status as models of giving and turn an event that was supposed to be fun-filled and turn it into a competition. And a pretty vile grab for gifts as well.
I’ve seen so many churches that act the same way over the years. Competitions about who gave the most or who got the most people to give their lives to the Lord….it shouldn’t be a competition! But I know churches do it. They keep score and if their attendance is up, they assume they are doing something “right.” But putting a cappuccino bar in the vestibule to entice visitors is more about keeping the numbers up than it is about saving souls in most cases.
Lets get back to the act of giving for its own sake. Don’t give because you’re supposed to, or because God will punish you if you don’t, or because you think it will help buy your way into heaven. Give because you know in your heart and soul that it’s the right thing to do. Give because you want to help others and feel true compassion for their plight. Give for the sake of others, not for your own sake. And do it all year round, not just at the prescribed holidays. Make it your life, not your religion.