Sunday, April 5, 2009

Contemplating Easter

CrossAs Easter rapidly approaches, I find myself giving the holiday some serious contemplation. As a Christian and devoted follower of God, Easter for me has always been more about the Resurrection of Christ than chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, and Spring.

Thoughts of Easter bring on thoughts of Christmas, the "biggest" holiday of the year. Christmas is no doubt the most widely celebrated event on the calendar, whether for Christian principles or otherwise. If you're reading these words, you have likely exchanged Christmas gifts on more than one occasion in your life, and quite possibly have found your share of hidden eggs, as well.

What disturbs me about this Christmas / Easter comparison is really quite simple. Two millenia ago the Creator of the Universe came to earth as flesh in the form of the baby Jesus. Today, we celebrate that day by putting up trees and stockings and waiting for a "jolly old elf" to come falling down the chimney. When companies like Target avoid using the word "Christmas" in their advertising campaign in an attempt to be politically correct, faith groups cry out in protest.

Just thirty-three years after that historic miracle, the God-man Jesus Christ died the most painful form of death on a cross on a hill, mocked by soldiers and bystanders, then rose from His grave. Next week we celebrate this miracle sacrifice by giving baskets of candy to our children and hunting for eggs hidden by a bunny. Churches will hold special services on Thursday and Friday as well as Sunday to observe, remember and worship the Savior. Other groups will hunt for eggs and devour chocolate bunnies with never a thought of that torturous death so long ago. Even others will use this special day as a rite of passage from Winter to Spring, a time when old things are made new, even a celebration of fertilty (hence the rabbit). Where is the outcry from the faith groups this season?

I'll grant you that Christmas is arguably the most important date on the calendar. The first Christmas was certainly a date of paramount importance in the grand scheme of things. It's not every day that God steps out of Heaven to physically walk among us. But I invite you to consider the following.

God took on flesh and came to Earth for only one reason: to save us all from our sinful ways. He did that by giving His life on a cross and arising from His grave three days later. Today, we call that Easter -- Resurrection Day. Had Christ not died, He could not have arose. Had He not risen from the dead, we would still be doomed to the eternal death that so many still choose by their very failure to choose.

Without Christ's Resurrection, His birth would be insignificant. It was the very gift of Salvation delivered through His death on that cross and subsequent Resurrection that made His birth such a miracle.

Without Easter, there is no Christmas. Without Christ, there is no hope.

Happy Easter! Rejoice in His Resurrection. Receive the Gift of Salvation.

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