Easter Is About More Than Candy And Egg Hunts
What would someone unfamiliar with our culture and traditions make of our holiday celebrations? Wouldn’t it be easy for them to misunderstand what is being celebrated? Without an explanation, they could easily assume that Thanksgiving is about a meal rather than being thankful; Christmas is about presents and lights rather than about the birth of our Savior; and Easter is about candy and egg hunts rather than about the resurrection of Christ.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the Thanksgiving meal, presents and lights, and even some candy, but when these become the focus of our celebrations we are miscommunicating the purpose behind the celebration. Nowhere is this clearer than at Easter. To reduce the meaning of Easter to bunnies and eggs and candy is akin to making the 4th of July about hot dogs and watermelon, or making a birthday party about the presents and the cake rather than the one whose birthday we’re celebrating. Without knowing the reason for the holiday its real purpose can be easily forgotten.
Even greater confusion as to what Easter celebrates occurs when churches participate in our American Easter traditions of egg hunts and bunnies. I too can appreciate the joy of watching children search for “Easter eggs” but unless we offer a proper understanding of what the real meaning of Easter is, we have not only diluted its meaning, but have destroyed it.
Perhaps you wonder if anyone should care. Is understanding the meaning really that important? While it may not be for the majority of our culture, Easter is the most important day in the Christian calendar. I cautiously say “most important” because there are actually four “most important days” for followers of Christ: Christmas where we celebrate the virgin birth of Christ; Good Friday where Jesus’ death for our sins is remembered; Easter where Christ’s resurrection claims our victory over sin and death; and Ascension Day where Jesus ascended into heaven to be our intercessor.
Truthfully, these four days are inseparable; one is not more important than the other because without any one of them there is no gospel. Without the virgin birth, Jesus’ death would have been meaningless. Without his physical death on the cross, we would still be condemned to death for our sins. Without the resurrection, we would have no eternal hope. Without the ascension, Christ would be unable to rule or be our intercessor.
And yet, dare I say that Easter is still the greatest of these four “most important days”? Why? Because the resurrection ties all of these together giving us an eternal hope. Apart from the resurrection, dying on a cross had no spiritual significance or meaning. While some claim that Jesus did not rise from the dead, or that he never actually died, history shows this to be an unfounded claim making Jesus’ resurrection irrefutable proof for the Christian gospel.
Paul told the church in Corinth that their hope was not merely in the story of Christ’s resurrection, but in the historical fact that Jesus was raised from the dead, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.” (1 Corinthians 15:3–6)
The Christian faith is meaningless without the resurrection. Unless the resurrection of Christ is a historical fact, then no matter how great Jesus’ words may have been, or how powerful his miracles were, they have no authority. The importance of the resurrection is not a matter of opinion, it is either true or it is not. That is why the historic Christian church has put such a great importance on the resurrection.
Unless a church speaks of the resurrection as being of “most importance” then it is not a Christian church. Why not? “For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:13–14) This Easter, I pray that you will not only remember that Jesus was raised from the dead, but that you will also consider how His resurrection is our only hope for eternal life.