Here’s good news for children in New Zealand (and hopefully all who benefit from their story): the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny will be permitted to continue their work in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made her announcement today. “You’ll be pleased to know that we do consider both the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” she said, smiling.
But there’s a catch: “As you can imagine, at this time they’re going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.”
As a result, she added, “I say to the children of New Zealand, if the Easter Bunny doesn’t make it to your household, we have to understand that it’s a bit difficult at the moment for the bunny to perhaps get everywhere.”
She then suggested that families help create Easter egg hunts for children in their neighborhoods by placing images of eggs in their windows.
Her advice follows weeks where many New Zealanders, Americans, and Britons have been placing teddy bears in their windows to help create teddy bear hunts for children as they go for walks with their parents.
Of course, I cannot give what I do not have. If I do not have a teddy bear, I cannot put one in my window. If I do not have Easter eggs, I cannot give them to others.
And if I do not know that I am loved, it is more difficult to love others.
Sharing your ‘home’ in Christ
After Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, performing the most menial and demeaning task in their culture, he called them to wash one another’s feet in response (John 13:14). Then he made this astounding promise: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (v. 35).
I have always assumed that this promise meant simply that when we love others as God loves us, people will notice our compassion and realize that we follow Jesus. But I now think there’s more to his statement: when I love others as God loves me, they will recognize that my love does not come from me but from my Lord. They will know its true source and be drawn to him. They will know that I am Jesus’ disciple because they encounter his love working through me.
During these very difficult days, experiencing and then sharing Jesus’ love is foundational to our souls and our service. Nothing is more urgent or fruitful than this.
In this light, please consider this reflection from Henri Nouwen: “You are loved long before other people can love you or you can love others. You are accepted long before you can accept others or receive their acceptance. You are safe long before you can offer or receive safety.”
However, he adds, “It requires discipline to come home and listen, especially when our fears are so noisy that they keep driving us outside of ourselves. But when we grasp the truth that we already have a home, we may at last have the strength to unmask the illusions created by our fears and continue to return again and again and again.”
Do you know that you “already have a home” in Christ?
Whom will you invite to join you there?