We are not hosting an Egg Hunt this year. I know many churches probably don’t do Egg Hunts because it is too “secular.” They believe Easter is about the Risen Christ, not plastic eggs and candy. I respect their convictions. For us though, we think you can hold both hand in hand. Yes, the Resurrection is one of the most important events in the life of the Christian. It gives new meaning to life and death for me personally, and as a church we celebrate it heartily. At the same time, Easter provides a time for family, and celebration of spring, and new life, and Easter eggs and candy!
So we have held a very large Egg Hunt event for the past 10 years. As our church has grown, so has the egg hunt. It started on the grounds of our church, on the little bit of green space we had. Then as the campus grew, our green space diminished. So we moved it to the park.
We collected thousands of eggs, literally – over 6000 eggs last year. We divided the kids into age groups, to keep the egg hunt fair. We put up ropes and markers so we could “hide” the eggs before each group started. But because we had so many participants and so many eggs, we didn’t really hide anything. We simply poured out buckets and buckets of eggs and spread them out in the park. Then we would blow the whistle and let the “hunting” begin. Except there was no actual hunting involved. It was more of a “grabbing.”
Kids would run as fast as they could to a spot and begin grabbing as many eggs as they could put in their basket or bag. The bigger faster kids, well, got a lot more eggs. In the toddler category, sometimes it was the more aggressive parents who claimed more eggs. The whole thing was over in a matter of minutes. It was very anticlimactic. We tried adding music and a story and food over the years, but it seemed families really just wanted to come for the eggs.
Each year, after the event, I would feel a bit of angst. Something in me said, “This is all wrong.” Ultimately, our team decided that we were teaching our kids the wrong message: “Restrain yourself behind the line until it’s time to go, then race to grab as much as you can for yourself.” At Easter, when we remember the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for all of us, the selfishness of it all seemed counterproductive.
So this year, we opted to hand the Egg Hunt tradition back to the families. Instead of participating in a giant Egg Grab with lots of other families, how about you create your own Egg Hunt for your family. Or perhaps you use this opportunity to invite neighbors or friends you’d like to know better. Maybe it is a big family event with all the grandparents and cousins. Use plastic filled eggs and traditional boiled eggs. Create an egg coloring station and let kids dye the eggs before hiding them. Fill plastic eggs with coins, special family treasures or puzzle pieces for creating a puzzle later. Let your whole family hide eggs for another family and visa versa. Let older kids hide eggs for the younger. Relish the fun of finding treasure hidden in the tall grass and shrubs. Read the Easter story aloud to all the kids and enjoy each other. Get to know your neighbors and extend an invite to church while you’re at it. Yes, the church isn’t hosting an Egg Hunt this year, but you can. Be disciples who love God and others! Happy Easter!