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Easter eggs-amined

Chocolate brand emphasises key ingredient of celebration, writes CLAIRE BRINE

The Easter bunny is now snapping at the heels of Jesus

IT’S nearly time to crack open the Easter eggs. Tomorrow (Sunday 1 April) is Easter Day, a time when people get to feast on as much chocolate as they want – right?

But David Marshall of the Meaningful Chocolate Company reckons that we can be so wrapped up in the sweet stuff that we risk missing the point. Eight years ago he launched The Real Easter Egg to tell consumers about the true meaning behind the celebration (while also providing them with some tasty chocolate, of course). He tells The War Cry how he got started.

‘In 2008 I received an Easter egg which said on the box: “Easter is the festival of chocolate and loveliness.” At first I thought the words were clever. But then they bugged me. Easter is about so much more than that.

‘I went online and discovered that in the UK we munched our way through 80 million Easter eggs a year, but not one of them mentioned Jesus on the box. Something had to be done.’

In 2010, David introduced The Real Easter Egg, a Fairtrade chocolate egg that explained the Christian meaning of Easter on its box.

‘Our aim was to get the eggs sold in major supermarkets, but in that first year they all turned us down,’ says David. ‘One by one, over the years, the stores came back to us, asking to stock it. To date we have sold more than 1.2 million eggs, so people do want them.’

As well as a large chocolate egg, The Real Easter Egg box contains an illustrated book, suitable for children, which tells the Easter story and contains some fun activity pages.

David says: ‘The basic story explains that on Maundy Thursday Jesus had a meal with his friends, and he was betrayed. On Good Friday he was crucified. Everyone thought that was the end of him, but then on Easter Sunday there was hope because God raised him to life.

‘It’s a powerful story, but over recent years I’ve noticed it disappearing from the Easter television and radio programme schedules. Our culture has changed. Younger generations are not picking up the story, and it means the Easter bunny is now snapping at the heels of Jesus.’

Last year a survey revealed that half the population under the age of 50 did not associate Jesus with Easter, placing him fourth in relevance behind Easter eggs, hot cross buns and the bank holiday. It’s a statistic that bothers David.

‘Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar, and it would be a great loss if we allowed it to slip away from wider culture,’ he says. ‘I don’t like big chocolate companies telling me that Easter has nothing to do with Jesus. Easter points towards hope and the new life that the Resurrection brings.’

The story of Jesus’ resurrection changes everything.

It means that humankind is set free from the deadly consequences of its wrongdoing. It shows us that we can know God’s life-changing love for ourselves. It empowers us to become new and better people in this world – and experience eternity with God in the next.

Isn’t it time to get real about the story of Easter?

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