In our culture Easter is synonymous with a long weekend, church services, the Easter Show (if you come from Sydney) and of course, Easter eggs. In our culture, chocolate eggs or perhaps plastic eggs filled with sweets are a must have in celebration of Easter. Yet, what do they have to do with Easter, particularly when we understand the origin of Easter?
In pre-Christian times, peoples would decorate eggs during the spring cycles to welcome the sun in the hope that it would ensure a bumper crop. The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians were known to decorate Ostrich eggs with gold and silver before placing them in graves.
Early Christians in Mesopotamia are reported to have taken eggs and stained them red as a symbol of the blood of Jesus which was shed for us. Around 1610 the Church officially adopted eggs as part of the Easter celebration, not because they had embraced a belief about welcoming the sun in Spring, but because they saw a rich symbolism in the egg.
Easter eggs were to symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus. Some thought it looked like the stone of a tomb. In it’s earliest form, giving decorated eggs would have been a decorated chicken egg, with symbolism in a bird hatching to life from the egg. For us, our Easter eggs are usually hollow. Maybe that’s the point. The tomb is empty. That was the discovery on that first Easter as women, then Peter and John went to the tomb of Jesus, only to find that He was not there.
This Easter, when you crack open that chocolate egg, pause for a moment, and enjoy the hollow centre of the egg. Reflect on the symbolism of the egg and remember the tomb was empty. For good reason. Jesus has risen.