Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year, but it certainly hides its importance a little too well. If you were to look at any department store at Christmas, and then again at Easter, you’d conclude that Christmas is the big one. In fact, I’d even argue that if you were to look at most churches at those two times, Christmas is the bigger one.
Christmas is certainly easier to wrap your head around… “a baby is born that will save the world”. That’s nice. Isn’t that nice? Almost superheroic, really. Let’s add to that stuff like “people gave him expensive gifts to celebrate his birth”. Oh, that’s even better! That gives me a way to celebrate! I’ll give gifts! I’ll get gifts! Christmas is the best time of the year!
Easter. That’s a lot tougher to celebrate. The baby that was born grows into a man named Jesus, is convicted of crimes, killed, but then rises from the dead within a few days informing people that he’s actually the Son of God. The details of his death are gruesome, and the details of his resurrection are, to most people, unbelievable.
How exactly are we supposed to turn something like Easter into foil-covered chocolates or wrapping paper? I’ve seen Biblical wrapping paper at Christmastime, with nativity scenes and angels and shepherds, but never Easter. An empty tomb, a crucified man, God having a victory over demonic forces… all of it is very difficult to commercialize, and so we celebrate it with bunnies and chicks and eggs and a host of odd symbols based on ancient Babylonian customs that don’t make sense to us. But, in doing so, we are forced to ignore this:
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
If Jesus was just a nice guy who said a few nice things and died in a horrible way, then everything changes. All Christians become lunatics, and all people of this earth lose the one true source of hope, freedom, and a relationship with God.
But, if it did happen, and Jesus did die to cover everything that you did wrong before rising from the dead and conquering death… well, then you have a choice, don’t you? Do you accept the gift? Do you want to be saved?
Many of the people I know don’t want to answer yes or no to that question… they’d rather just avoid the question entirely, and get on with their lives. I imagine that this is probably why we still have the Easter Bunny… it’s a lot easier to believe that we get a few days off work to celebrate a rabbit than having to answer that question that the annoying Christians keep asking: Do you want to know Jesus?
I won’t ask you that question. All I can say is that it’s been well worth it for me.