BUNNIES AT THE CROSS: An Offensive Easter Tablescape?

I’m wondering…  Does this picture offend any of you?  I really do want to know.


As I was putting together this tablescape, I started with the tulips and bunnies, adding the cross almost as an afterthought … which is odd because the cross is never an afterthought when I think of Easter.  In fact, without the cross, there IS no Easter. As I reflected, I realized my Easter tablescapes always have either a “religious” or a “Springtime” theme — never both.  When decorating, vignettes have always been either/orHmmm …


Working on this Easter table, I found it interesting that what came to mind was the first time I saw a Christmas nativity set with Santa at the manger. I don’t mind telling you it was a bit off-putting for me. I did a double take, and I might have been a little offended.  Why?  Well, because Santa Claus is “commercialism and worldly” … and Jesus is anything but!  Oh, yeah, I know the origin of Santa and the story of the real St. Nicholas—and I’m all about charitable giving—but the jolly ol’ elf himself kneeling at the manger?  It felt a bit perhaps like a Christian saying (read with sarcasm), “As long as SANTA worships the Baby Jesus, it’s okay if I get drawn into the hustle-bustle commercialism of the holiday until “the big day” … and then I’ll turn my focus to the Baby, too.  After all, Jesus is the Reason for the Season!”

 

… But we were talking about Easter— and Jesus is STILL the reason for the season—and I did the exact same kind of double-take the very next day when I came across a drawing that described “real” Easter bunnies by linking them to Scripture.  I have no doubt the artist’s heart was in the right place, but I can’t help but wonder why so many Christians have fallen into the habit of putting religious faces on secular choices. Wait… what?  Of thinking it’s okay to focus on the “other” Easter (or Christmas) as long as we can put a little God-spin on it. If we’ll just latch on to a few Bible verses, we can be a “real” Easter bunny—right up until “the big day” when we walk into church (with the proper level of respect and praise-lifting) and focus our attention on the empty cross for an hour.

 

Please don’t misunderstand. I grew up with— and love!—the egg-filled baskets and bunnies and Springtime flowers … the “pretties” of Easter … and they do bring to mind an awakening of the earth and new life (even if their origins are in pagan symbolism). But it seems really odd to me that we won’t acknowledge what probably appears to many outside the faith to be inconsistencies in our belief … or worse, hypocrisy. While our words say Easter is about Jesus, our actions often say otherwise.

Why don’t we just admit:  What we’re reflecting back to the world is a result of where we’re looking.
 

 

If our focus year-round is on our projects … our shopping … our online visiting … OUR choices … and the cross is an afterthought, then that’s what those around us will see.  If, instead, our focus is first on the things of God as the foundation of our life choices, then we won’t feel the need to add “religious speak” as a qualifier if there’s no cross hanging around our bunny’s neck. Yes, I’m exaggerating, but I hope you see my point. Why don’t we Christians agree to break the cycle of God-spinning every aspect of our lives and instead simply acknowledge … first … God’s presence and faithfulness in the everyday?

 

From a tablescaping perspective, I’m not particularly pleased with this table (the bunnies are too large for the cross) and I doubt I’ll ever do another tablescape with both bunnies and a cross … but I’m really glad this one happened.  It gave me a lot to think about. Christian friends, let’s enjoy our Easter “pretties” … but let’s be sure to focus on the cross—and the tomb—so we’ll reflect their emptiness back to the world. It’s the least we can do after all Jesus did for us.

 

I  am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25-26

 

Have you accepted the gift that God gave us at Christmas, letting the Baby Jesus capture your heart?  Have you accepted that his death, too, was a gift?  Have you let the Easter Jesus break your heart as you struggle to fathom that kind of love?  The kind that says, “I love you and I want you to acknowledge my existence and believe that I died for you—for YOU.  I want a relationship with you. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers; I have them. Why won’t you trust me?  I’m here for you … but I love you enough to let you choose.

 

Christ arrives right on time… He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8 (The Message)

 

If you think this conversation is worth continuing, I hope you’ll share it via social media, talk about it among friends, and (most importantly) make time … and reflect on its contents.

 

Ask yourself: Where is my focus?

 

I’ll be joining:

Table Top Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Centerpiece Wednesday @ The Style Sisters
Let’s Dish! @ Cuisine Kathleen
Tablescape Thursday @ Between Naps on the Porch Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound Spiritual Sunday @ Blogger Spirit

Comments

  1. Hi Susan~
    I have just read your post and LOVE that this occurs to people other than me. Thank you so much for writing this! Yes! Jesus is the reason for every Season…I think your table looks beautiful and is done in good taste (not overflowing with other Easter Idols) As a matter of fact, the way your tulips are arranged first brought to my mind Palm Sunday. I also think the bunnies on your table could have been in the Manger with Christ, they are not screaming Easter Bunny!!! They simply look like the adorable little creature that Our Lord created. I know these lines do get very blurred for many, but I think you have done Christ justice..I would be a little more concerned that the empty cross and Christ were afterthoughts, than what your table looks like. I appreciate your open candor and call for Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing this truly “inspired” writings.
    Many Blessings,
    ~Theresa

  2. A lovely post that does make one think about the secularization of religious holidays. Yet I believe that God has a sense of humor and is willing to put up with our silliness along with our sincere beliefs. Thanks for posting this and I will share it on my Facebook page.

    • Very well said, that is true! HE must be so happy we always celebrate such special holidays in honor of our sweet JESUS. He also knows we are terrenial creatures and we have a special side of looking at the happy part of them all.
      Fabby

  3. I love your Easter table celebrating Easter, after, when our dear Lord Jesus Christ returns to HIS FATHER. I love your tulips and the napkins in purple too. I’m very inspired as I’m about to do my real Easter table with the cross, dishes, sweet bunnies and flowers… for mother and us. Thank you for sharing this lovely and pretty post in honor of Jesus. Big hugs,
    FABBY

  4. I do know what you mean and have seen manger scenes in yards at Christmas, and then all around the nativity their is santa and rudolph and everything else you can imagine and somehow it bothers me too. I thought your post was great, and I was
    glad your shared how you feel because knowing your heart that doesn’t put me off with your table at all…………..cause like someone else said bunnies are a part of God’s creation.
    I think your table is lovely, and I like you usually make it a spring table, but usually put something on the table, like greeting card to everyone, or verses or something to reflect what Christ has done for us, not as an afterthought ever, cause for me this is the true meaning of Easter, and their would be no Easter if it were not for HIM, that is for sure, and because I can’t imagine life without HIM…..
    Blessings to you and yours,
    and Happy Easter…………..the real EASTER!
    Nellie

  5. Had to come back and say this.
    At Christmas time we were looking to buy a nativity set for our yard, since you are seeing them less and less all the time. I remember standing in Lowe’s and looking at all their big yard Christmas ornaments and there was not a single nativity set,
    there was santa in a train, snowmen, elfs, and gifts etc, and I remember standing there in disbelief, and thinking oh Lord, this is what Christmas has now boiled down too, how sad, how very sad……..
    forgive us we know not what we do………….

    Blessings, Nellie

    • Sadly, I think we sometimes DO know what we do … and do it anyway. At least I know that’s true for me. Perhaps that’s part of why I wrote this post — to remind myself that where I’m looking is reflected to those around me.

  6. Beautiful, beautiful! All are God’s creatures!

  7. Very thoughtful and thought provoking post, as you so often have! One thing I’ll add (just for what it’s worth, and no offense intended or taken if you disagree) is that the pagan symbolism for spring represents the renewal of life we see in springtime – and I would submit that those *are* Christian symbols too, since Jesus is the ultimate in life-renewing. I had a world history teacher long ago teach that early Christians were brilliant in their evangelization by absorbing and adapting the pagan symbolism they came across – but then he pointed out that those symbols meshed so well with Christianity that perhaps it was all part of God’s design …

    I love your blog, and hope you have a very happy and blessed Easter!

    Patty

    • Patty, Spring and its symbols always bring to mind for me the life-renewing presence of Jesus, and I’m glad you mentioned that. As for your teacher’s words about how the early Christians absorbed the pagan symbolism and used it in evangelism, I’ve never thought about it quite like that. Thanks for giving me something to ponder… Happy Easter to you and yours!

  8. Susan- The tablescape doesn’t offend me at all. I think that God is anywhere we choose to let Him be-from the cross next to the bunny on your table to the paper cross in a murderer’s jail cell. If we are living for God I don’t think he looks at us with a raised eyebrow because we enjoy the things of this world…as long as we are not so Earthly-bound that we are no Heavenly good. I think as long as we remember to wear the “things” of this world like a loose garment we are okay.
    That being said, your tablescape is absolutely gorgeous. I love the plates and the way you have put everything together. What a wonderful post here today, Susan. Easter blessings-xo Diana

  9. This absolutely does not offend me; what does offend me is when other religions would, and have, put a stop to public displays of Christianity. At least where I live, as far as Nativity scenes at Christmas. Your table is beautiful and perfect for Easter. Call me crazy, but I like that bunny drawing. God made all creatures, and I would think He doesn’t mind it. xo

  10. No, it doesn’t offend me…

  11. Your table and post would make Jesus SO PROUD! Everything is perfect and you have captured it perfectly! I always look at bunnies as one of Gods most beautiful creations and a symbol of one of HIS seasons too… If Jesus were to attend our Easter dinner, I’m sure he would scoop up a little bunny and bring him to dine!
    Thank you for the beautiful post…
    Happy Easter and God Bless you!
    Hugs,
    Donna

  12. Love your pretty table. Spring is about birth and rebirth. Love the colors and the silver.. All so gorgeous.. Have a beautiful day and a blessed Easter. xo marlis

  13. Good morning! I haven’t had my morning cup of juice (yes, I’m a wimp…I drink juice instead of coffee!), but I’ll weigh in. I don’t find it offensive. Bunnies are part of God’s creatures. I think there is room in this world for both religious and secular celebration of religious holidays. The religious side is the genesis, and those who are true to their faith recognize and celebrate that in their own way. Many people consider their faith and how they worship to be a very personal thing, though, so unless someone is on a site that is known for focusing primarily or exclusively on the religious side of it, it’s not always likely that you will see public, outward focus on it. (For instance, I prefer to pray in private. Absolutely alone. Partly because I talk to God out loud much of the time, and partly because I don’t lock myself into a specific time – say, Sunday morning at 10:00 – to pray and reflect.) Further, these days, so many people are concerned with being politically correct. It has become somehow injurious to those who do not practice the same faith if we express ours. (Even though this country was founded upon Christianity.) When it comes down to it, who really knows how deep each individual’s focus is on the religious vs. the secular celebration of any day? One may not spend equal hours in the church and the mall, but who’s to say that the acts of the person at the mall are not keeping within their faith? (e.g., Giving up a parking spot, opening the door for someone, letting someone with fewer items go in front of them in line, spreading general good cheer) I’m one of those people who talks to God whenever it strikes me to do so. I can be in the shower, in the car, slaving over a hot stove, setting up a tablescape…I don’t have to be in church to be in touch with God. So….there may be more emphasis in people’s hearts and minds and in their homes than what is outwardly conveyed on city streets. It is thanks in part to our sudden move toward political correctness that clamps down on many open displays of faith. Heck, Nativity scenes aren’t even allowed in lots of places anymore!

    I’m one of those people who just does her thing in life. I appreciate, celebrate and find favor with both the secular and religious sides. If the two should happen to get together..say, on a table where a bunny holds flowers at the foot of the cross…I see no reason to get my panties in a knot over it. Just like in a court of law, I think it’s all about intent. If someone put a graphic image of some horrible act at the foot of the cross, I think we could pretty well surmise the intent is NOT pure. A bunny, on the other hand….sweet! 🙂 That’s my 2 cents! Good way to get ye olde brain churning first thing in the a.m.! 🙂 Have a Blessed and Happy Easter!

  14. Fantastic post! I do not in any way find it offensive! I think that it is wonderful to blend in God with holiday tradition! I feel that a lot of times people forget the true meaning of some of our holidays and this is a great way to remind them! Your table is super beautiful as well! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Your table is nice your post is AWESOME. Sometimes when I blog about things with meaning…..people aren’t interested and I think that reflects real life where we are too busy with projects etc. Thank you for sharing this, it made me sit quietly and adjust (we all need that poke occasionally). I think you might enjoy reading some of my blog posts. They are the guest posts featuring my 16 yr old daughter. She writes a Christian based column for a local newspaper. Thank you again for sharing today. Wishing you a blessed Easter.

  16. I fully agree that spring is the rebirth of life…very nice post, Susan.
    Your table is so pretty, I love the way some of your tulips have their head upright and some bowed.
    Happy Easter!

  17. Thanks for a well thought out post. I wasn’t raised doing Easter bunnies…no baskets, and I haven’t done it with my own. It is probably the only holiday that I have kept totally spiritual…that is due to my Dad’s influence…I am sure my own children won’t follow our tradition, they will do Easter bunnies…but for me this has been right for me…and I have no regrets

  18. Hi Susan,
    I am not offended at all. The Cross, I guess, as a Catholic is the most symbolic on this Easter season.

    Bunnies and chicken? Who founded them? That’s more offending, in my opinion. But, we can well get along the society.

    Jesus Christ = The Cros is the symbolm of all the season we are celebrating. And to tell you that? You are the only one, so far, who put a Cross in our TS.

    TY a million for adding to make us realize that Jesus Matter and not the bunnies and the chickens on top of our table.

    Thumbs UP.

    Happy Easter,
    /CC girl from D´Box

  19. Absolutely no offense at all! For years, I have decorated my Easter table with bunnies & eggs, flowers, candies & candles and YES, CROSSES….lots of them! Without the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, we wouldn’t even be celebrating Easter! So thank you, for your boldness in expressing your beliefs and convictions. BTW – your table is gorgeous! Happy Easter! (and thanks for sharing the “Real Easter Bunnies” drawing)

  20. I think it’s beautiful… and it’s YOUR blog, YOUR table. Doesn’t matter if I like it or not…but it’s nice to be validated.

  21. I see that my comment(s) from yesterday never made it. I’m having a terrible time with blogger or the computer or something eating my comments these days. It happens a LOT on here and one other blog for some reason.

    I will try yet again and copy before posting this time.

    I couldn’t agree more with what (I thought) you were saying, which is not that the cross offends but that the combination of the secular with the cross can be an offense. Am I right about that? Based on other comments I might be mistaken.

    On that topic, I have long felt very convicted. It’s not that I have a problem with the secular traditions in their place. I’m just wary when we begin to try to do what my former pastor called ” putting God’s stamp on your stuff”. He used to warn of that, and I often have to stop and do the “stamp” test.

    To me, if you want to have the bunnies and eggs or elves and Santa that’s fine. I’m sort of a kid at heart. I just don’t think folks ought to try to sprinkle imaginary holy water on it and anoint it, if that makes sense. It is what it is.

    OK, copying and trying again.

    Oh! And I did love the table. Especially the tulips!

  22. Yay!!!!!!!!

  23. Debbie, you ARE right. You “get it” – and so does the pastor. I love his phrase. Thank you for being so diligent to come back and comment again. Happy Easter to you snd yours as we celebrate our risen Lord!

  24. Not offensive at all. Lovely tablescape and blessed Easter to you.

  25. Beautiful tablescape! and Message. Amen!

    Happy Pink! And Enjoy the Easter weekend!

    xo

  26. Your post has brought up a point I have thought of often. Am I making light of my love for God by placing a sign of faith on a table next something like a cute bunny? This does not offend me at all as it is done with taste and beauty. i was always afraid I would be offending someone else-but it is refreshing to see so many wonderful comments on this subject. Some thing that i find offensive is some sort of sign of faith on the bumper of a truck while at the same time they have a sticker in the window of a boy doing something offensive to a Ford symbol – truly a contradiction to the sign of faith. I used to teach 4 year old Sunday School and the one thing we used to make such a huge point about at Easter was that the bunnies and eggs are sign of new life, and that is the new life that Jesus gave us when he died of the cross for us. Although there are many people who celebrate both Easter and Christmas without any religious intentions to the Holidays, I always think that there is hope that they are at least reaching out to family and something of God’s love will be present!
    Thank you for a thought provoking post. Have a wonderful Easter!

  27. I am always amazed that we inevitably end up back in the garden with a choice between the tree of knowledge of good and evil or the Tree of Life. Love the Advent colors with the gorgeous classic china. Happy Easter! Cherry Kay

  28. Love your bunnies and settings.

  29. I love your table – all of it. I think the the combination of celebration symbols is beautiful.

    It’s wonderful to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays!

    – The Tablescaper

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