Has anyone else noticed that those tacky outdoor Easter decorations just
don't seem to be as prevalent this year?
Coming into "fashion," so to speak, only within the last decade, front-yard
displays of brightly colored plastic eggs hanging from trees had begun to
proliferate. Never mind that the decorations didn't make logical sense -
since when do eggs hang from trees? - the trend threatened to turn Easter
into just another excuse for gaudy excess.
But then Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, hit theaters. Rising
to the top of the box-office charts in spite of unfounded and overblown
criticism - and maybe even a little fear from those weak in faith of any
kind - the film about the last hours of Jesus' life provides a graphic,
shocking reminder of the whole purpose of the Easter holiday.
It isn't about bunnies, candy or fancy clothes; Easter marks the most
important holiday in the Christian calendar, celebrating the resurrection of
Christ after his sacrifice for the collective sins of all mankind.
That's heavy stuff. It certainly makes those front-yard decorations seem
It's just a theory, but maybe that explains the reason this year's
best-dressed yards are wearing only the colors God and landscapers gave
them: the bright flowers of azaleas and camellias, the green of
spring-awakened lawns, the symbolism-heavy blossoming of dogwoods.
This isn't to say that giant hanging eggs or gigantic inflatable rabbits are
They aren't, any more than Santa Claus and Christmas trees are violations of
Christian principles. But it's a safe assumption that Gibson's stark vision
of the events leading up to the original Easter have made all those yard
decorations seem, well, plastic.
There really is more to Easter than candy and clothes. Like Christmas,
Easter is a blend of secular and religious observances, and sometimes
commercialization threatens to obscure the religious significance. But that
shouldn't diminish either holiday's importance to Christians.
The Passion of the Christ is credited with bringing a renewal of faith in
the Christian community. If it also is responsible for uncluttering a few
yards, perhaps that's a visible sign of the very renewal Easter is meant to
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