There will be lots of chocolate, candy, eggs, ham, turkey, and other festive and delicious treats partaken of on Easter Sunday. Children all across the world will attend church services showcasing their flattering dresses and spiffy suits. Parents will sit proudly in church pews and watch their children recite a poem or portray a role in a skit. This indeed fits the description of a traditional Easter service.
There is nothing wrong per se in enjoying these activities, if we keep the meaning of this sacred holiday in perspective. Easter is the holy remembrance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The old, but untarnished story of Christ’s death on Calvary’s hill still resonates among Christians today. The stripes that were whipped upon his back and the painful beatings that Christ endured is the message of love that brings hope and rest to today’s weary soul. The scriptures in the Holy Bible declare in John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but but have eternal life.” (NLT). There is much joy in this beautiful reminder that Christ died for our imperfections so that we may, wholeheartedly and abundantly, live with purpose.
It was with Christ’s death, that his critics and antagonists celebrated prematurely in their naive belief that the King of Kings was defeated in death. It was to their surprise and to the joy of many others that Christ rose from the grave three days later. His resurrection is what makes the Easter story so compelling, unique and matchless. Death could not defeat him. The grave could not hold him. He rose with power and with a stern and electrifying message that he was still God, in despite of the circumstances that had surrounded him.
This the real message of Easter. It is tempting to secularize Easter into making it about marketing, commercialism and festivities. The real challenge is to remind our fellow brother and sister of the power of God’s love. It is essential that the members of the Christian community be ambassadors of Christ. This consists of telling those who feel hopeless, depressed and battered down by the pressures of life that there is a Savior who died for their iniquities and wishes to heal and make them whole.
There is a temptation to make this holy and sacred holiday secular. There is the temptation to focus solely on easter egg hunts and shopping and neglect to reflect on the life of Christ. We must remember that the mainstream and secular philosophy of this society will never replace the timeless truth of the real Easter story.
This Easter, I will partake of a hearty meal and all the other traditions, but I will never replace those with the true meaning of Easter–Jesus Christ. If we secularize Easter, we are in danger of replacing the story of Christ with our own vanity.