The Salvation Army URL has changed to salvationarmy.org.auFind out more
9 April 2021
The real message of Easter is not about sweet treats.
Words Belinda Davis
There was a time when I really looked forward to Easter. The thought of receiving all those chocolate eggs was something that would send this little chocoholic into eager anticipation. Lindt chocolate bunnies were my absolute favourite. And then there was the invention of choc-chip hot cross buns. Divine. Easter was right up there as the most wonderful time of the year.
That was until three years ago when I made a somewhat radical decision. I had noticed that, as the years progressed, I was easily gaining weight that wasn’t so easy to lose, so I thought I would try cutting refined sugar from my diet. Without refined sugar in my diet, I was sleeping better, thinking more clearly and began losing weight. It was very disappointing – I was hoping it would make no difference at all so I could go back to the sweet chocolatey treats I loved!
After a few months of this new way of eating, I allowed myself the occasional sweet treat and discovered that the milk chocolate I used to adore was now way too sweet to enjoy! Instead, I found that dark chocolate was the most I could handle, and it needed to contain a high percentage of cocoa – something I had previously considered tasted like dirt.
Then, last Easter rolled around. I was given my usual stash of chocolate eggs and other treats and I thought they were lovely. Until I tried eating them. Each of my chocolate treasures was significantly less enjoyable than before. Even the choc-chip hot cross bun I allowed myself to have was very disappointing. Now, of course, I could have chosen not to eat them, but these were gifts presented to me by people I care about. Plus, it was chocolate after all. So, I ate my chocolate stash almost begrudgingly and I felt my love of that side of Easter slide away.
This season is coming around again and, as it approaches, I am debating what to do. Do I reject the sweet, chocolate offerings that come my way? Do I accept them graciously before finding someone else to consume them? Do I ask people who might be thinking of buying me chocolate eggs to buy me something else instead?
You can begin to understand the levels of my anxiety about this situation but, as I offload this drama here, it dawns on me that my focus for Easter is somewhat skewed.
You see, the Easter season has very little to do with chocolate, sugar or any other type of food, and everything to do with the sacrificial gift of love that Jesus demonstrated for each one of us. The punishment he took, that we so rightly deserved, enables us to enter into a restored relationship with God.
The trouble is, everywhere we look we see the retail message of Easter (that is, chocolate) and nothing about what it really means. At least at Christmas there are some nativity scenes around but at Easter, there are no depictions of the season, apart from the cross on the hot cross buns. This is probably because the images of Jesus’ sacrifice are not as palatable to us, and we would rather not be reminded of someone’s pain and suffering.
That is where we are wrong, though. We very much should be reminded of the price Jesus paid for our freedom. In the Bible, in the book of John chapter 3 and verse 16, it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That is a gift worth holding on to.
So, this year, as I contemplate my chocolate dilemma, I am hoping that it will remind me that the message of Easter is not wrapped in chocolate but is the gift that was offered so many years ago. I pray you will realise the value of this gift also as you prepare for this time of celebration.
Major Belinda Davis is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) in South Australia.