A nationwide business chain bought full-page ads in newspapers across the United States to explain the true meaning of Easter.
Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts store with 435 locations in 35 states, has taken out full-page ads in every city that the company has a store in. The Christian-owned company estimates it has bought about 300 ads that will appear in newspapers Sunday nationwide.
"We just need people to know what this season is about," said David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, in an interview with American Family Association. "It is about the death and resurrection of Christ and we just feel we need to proclaim that and not lose this season to the Easter bunnies."
Hobby Lobby has been placing full-page ads in newspapers nationwide for Easter and Christmas since 1997.
This year's ad is of a chalkboard with the phrase "A slate wiped clean," written on it. Underneath the sentence are crosses and the biblical passage Acts 3:19, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out. That times of refreshing may come from the Lord."
In small-print at the bottom is an invitation for people who would like to know more about Jesus as Lord and Savior to call Need Him Ministry or contact Hobby Lobby.
Green said literally thousands of people thank Hobby Lobby each year for the ads, which cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"We criticize corporations when they make irresponsible decisions and decisions we believe hurt the family," said Tim Wildmon, president of AFA, during the interview. "In this case we are glad to applaud and pat on the back Hobby Lobby for their Easter ads which will appear in papers across the country Easter Sunday, and of course they do this at Christmas as well."
The Oklahoma-based company does not open on Sunday. Though Hobby Lobby did open its stores in the beginning, it decided in the early 1990s to close on the Sabbath.
"We came together as a family and said, 'You know, we are keeping people out of church possibly,'" Green said. "We are keeping them away from their families. And we just felt it was more important for us to honor the Lord and to close on Sundays."
Hobby Lobby's CEO noted that at the time of their decision the company was making about $100 million on Sundays. Despite the economic benefits, the family decided to close on the Sabbath and Green said God has blessed their company ever since.
The Green family is also involved in a soon-to-be-opened National Bible Museum. Hobby Lobby has agreed to acquire biblical artifacts for the museum. Earlier this year, it acquired a Codex Climaci Rescriptus, an extremely rare, sixth-century Bible that is one of the oldest, near-complete Bibles in the world.