Focus – Beyond Chocolate Easter Bunnies
by Lt. Amanda Reardon –
I don’t have to tell you, Christian friend, how spectacular Easter is. What could be more wonderful than celebrating the resurrection of our Lord? It is the holiest, most meaningful day of the year.
For Christians. As for the rest of the world, I have yet to figure out what it is that they are celebrating. Oddly enough, they don’t seem to know either. If you go to a card store and pick up any non-religious Easter card, you’ll find that the extent of the message is basically “Happy Easter,” which packs about as much of a punch as “Happy Tuesday.”
There are bunnies, there are pastel eggs, there is chocolate–but what is the purpose for the holiday, from a secular point of view?
At Christmas time, it is different. Those who do not care to celebrate the birth of our Lord have at least attached a warm humanistic message to Christmas: peace on earth, good will between men (a secular spin on a God-given declaration). They haven’t hit the heart of the matter, but at least there is some substance.
Not so with Easter. I’ve seen vague attempts at trying to tout Easter as the celebration of spring, reminiscent of ancient pagan celebrations of the season. But this doesn’t seem really to have caught on. All that seems to hold the holiday together year after year is the subtle reference to fertility, which those ancient pagans glorified (i.e., the egg), and clever marketing on the part of the chocolatiers. It isn’t much to go on. It isn’t even a day off work!
I find it interesting that the world has done a fine job of rejoicing through Christmas without Christ, yet they flounder so at Easter time. I am inclined to think that God refuses to let Satan tamper with Easter. As prince of this world, Satan is masterful at distorting a great many sacred things, but Easter is not one of them. That is where God draws the line. I Corinthians 15:14 explains that Christianity hinges on the resurrection: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
Perhaps, because it is that important, the Lord will not allow the spirituality of the day to be obscured successfully. Bunnies and candy are not enough to draw the world’s attention away from the fact that Easter is a deeply religious day. I know that there are many children–perhaps even adults–who cannot tell you that Easter signifies the day Jesus rose from the dead. But society in general knows it is a church-going day, and that it is key in the Christian faith.
If I were not a Christian, I would be very uncomfortable on Easter. I would feel compelled to celebrate something, but what? I’d feel as if I were crashing the party. Would I have the right to celebrate? (As a Christian, I get a similar feeling on Halloween.)
Perhaps if I weren’t saved I might be one of those people who shows up at church on Easter and Mother’s Day. I wonder how out of place I’d feel, looking at so many people who regularly attend church and knowing that church should be regularly attended.
No, I can’t see enjoying Easter much without a true relationship with the risen Lord. But since I do have a relationship with him, what a glorious day! Of all the days of the year, Easter is my favorite. I know that on that day, Jesus Christ declared himself master over death, as well as life. I know that on that day, my own resurrection was sealed. On that day I celebrate life, and I celebrate the authority of my Lord, to whom even death is subject.
I have every intention of savoring a fair amount of chocolate on Easter Sunday. But I can enjoy my candy because I will use it to celebrate the holiday, not to define the holiday. And as that delectable confection tickles my taste buds, I will be reminded that there is nothing as sweet as the new life I’ve found in Christ, and the promise of resurrection through him.