Since the time I was a very little girl watching them scamper around our grassy yard in East Tennessee, stopping only to munch on clover stems, I have loved those “wascally wabbits” also known as bunnies. In junior high school I actually raised rabbits, showing them in the Tennessee State Fair. I even served briefly as secretary of the Smoky Mountain Rabbit Breeders Association!
As Easter approaches our grandchildren know that the bunnies burrowed in storage bins most of the year will soon be hopping into position all around our house—joining the year-round bunnies on display. We have bunny bands, bunny families, and even an Easter egg tree with bunny ornaments. Bunnies, bunnies everywhere!
Of course, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that Easter is only about His glorious Resurrection. It’s about how He came to earth to close the gap between us and His Heavenly Father. It’s about how believers can exchange a life of sin for an eternal life with God! I know all that to be true, and I’m grateful to my soul for the true meaning of Easter. I would never begin to idolize or worship the Easter Bunny, but I’m hoping it’s OK to adore God’s fuzzy creatures that dart across the path in front of me on my walks, stopping just long enough to twitch an ear or wiggle a nose in my direction.
I’ve learned a lot from bunnies—including the facts of life after I ran to my grandmother crying, “one of my rabbits is playing too rough with the other one!” In my book Simply the Savior, I wrote about learning to abide by watching the little rabbit that lived in an overgrown juniper at the end of our driveway. Every morning when I opened the drapes to look out she would be nibbling dew-covered grass. But if the golden retriever next door came galloping by, or the wind and rain came up, the little rabbit would quickly retreat to her bush where she was safe. Seeing her abide in the bush helped me understand how Jesus wants us to abide in Him (John 15:4).
Many authors have personified bunnies. I decorated my grandchild nursery in prints and fabric depicting Beatrix Potter’s beloved Peter Rabbit and his friends. One year I read the novel Watership Down, a fictitious account of life in a rabbit warren, while riding a train through the British countryside. Gazing out the window I couldn’t help but fantasize that the bunnies I was reading about were out there somewhere.
Yet bunnies are just charming, sometimes aggravating (why do they eat just one bite of each ripe strawberry?) creatures. I believe God made them in part for our pleasure, so let it be to His glory that we enjoy them at Easter.
Which leads me to wonder if bunnies could have been present at the Cross. When the ground shook and the sky turned darker than dark, did they scurry under a rosemary bush for protection? Maybe they also watched from a distance that bright, early morning of the third day as the women ran to the tomb only to find it empty. We can only imagine…and be blessed.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
–Cecil F. Alexander