As Christians, we know how to make the most of Christmas. Whatever our views on Santa, Lifetime holiday specials, or gift-buying, we know pretty well how to direct our attention to the real meaning of the holiday: the Incarnation. The birth of our Lord and Savior, not just the long-awaited Davidic King but God made flesh. What a thing to celebrate! It’s wonderful that we make the most of Christmas and the Christmas/Advent season.
But Christmas isn’t the only Christian holiday that deserves celebration; and if we look back at Church history, it actually isn’t the most famous.
That title goes to Easter.
By commercial-holiday standards, Easter’s pretty pathetic. It’s always a Sunday, so there’s no work closings. Non-Christian traditions are limited to:
- Going to church with your parents or grandparents and hoping there’s a good meal after
- Dressing up nicely, and maybe buying a nice new dress
- Hiding eggs, real or plastic, for kids to find
- A rabbit, who managed to sneak into the egg thing somehow
Thrilling, right? And so … non-merchandiseable. The Easter bunny even makes a pretty uninspiring movie protagonist; he’s more of a side character. From a worldly perspective, Easter’s a pretty unspectacular holiday.
But for Christians, the story couldn’t be more different.
The Easter season is where we set aside time to focus on the fact that God didn’t just become a human being; he became a human being for the purpose of redeeming His people from sin. He didn’t just come to show us a better way; He came to be the way, and that involved Him dying on the Cross for our sins. He paid the price, once for all time, for our liberation from judgment and let us die to sin in Jesus’ death.
And the core event of Easter – Jesus’ resurrection – signed, sealed, and delivered that work for all time. Here’s a sampling of promises we have entirely because of Jesus’ resurrection:
- We know that Jesus really was the king he claimed to be (Acts 2:36)
- The promise that sin won’t own our lives (Romans 6:4)
- Assurance that we too will be raised from the dead (Romans 6:5)
- Death will not ultimately win over creation (1 Corinthians 15:25)
- One day, the creation will be freed from corruption (1 Corinthians 15:42-3)
- We will one day live in the presence of God, where Jesus is (Colossians 3:3-4)
We could keep going. As you can see, at the core of Easter is the event that gives us hope: hope for a relationship with God, hope for victory over sin in the present, hope for immortality in the future. Easter is the key to the happy ending of our world’s story – the only key.
So I say, by all means celebrate Christmas. But around Eastertide, Christians should stuff themselves so full of God’s resurrection-promises that we become downright giddy. Let’s reflect on the promises sealed, the victory earned, the relationship with God established through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and let’s let the world see the beauty of hope, real hope, that Easter provides.