Choose Not to Forget the Meaning of Easter
One More Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
Next weekend millions of people will put on their “Easter bonnets” (metaphorically speaking, of course) and head for a church meeting to celebrate the risen Christ. Some children will look for the Easter bunny and hunt for eggs. Still, others might stay away from church because they feel Easter has a pagan origin.
A scholarly debate over Easter’s origin has been going on for millennia. Both Christians and pagans have celebrated death and resurrection themes following the Spring Equinox. Some say the name Easter came from the German word “ostern” meaning sunrise. Some think it refers to some ancient, Northern European, Saxon goddess of fertility.
Actually, a pretty good case can be made for Christian and pagan explanations. However, shying away from something just because it has pagan roots, especially when today’s use is not the original intent, can be quite limiting. Many of today’s customs can be traced back to paganism. Here are a few: using wedding rings, shaking hands, and covering the mouth when one yawns. Even the word Sunday is derived from a pagan deity, as are the other days of the week.
Consider this… Why boycott a holiday that really serves to unite the Christian community? Why not focus on what Easter has truly come to symbolize – the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which means Jesus is alive and well! He is our risen Savior. The resurrection actually validates Christians. Here’s how…
Christ was crucified and died willingly for our sins. Because of this we are forgiven and no longer condemned. This is great news, but without Christ’s resurrection it would be null and void. Christ was delivered to death for our sins, but raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:23,24) In other words, His death paid for our sins, but His resurrected life is the proof or the receipt for that payment. Jesus came to earth, died for us, and rose from the dead. Jesus lives! This truth validates Christ and it validates us.
The resurrection validates Christ because what He said would happen, did happen. Jesus knew He was going to be betrayed, condemned, mocked, beaten and die. But He also knew and told His disciples that He would be raised to life again. (Matthew 20:18-20) And it took place just the way Jesus said it would.
This is good news for us on so many levels. It validates our Christian life. Not only can we trust everything Christ tells us, but death no longer holds us in bondage. (1 Corinthians 15:55) Christ’s victory over death is our victory, too. (1 Corinthians 15:57) Because Christ lives, we can live also. (Romans 6:8, 9) We who believe in Him will live – even though we might die, we will live again. (John 11:25-26)
Let’s never forget this! It’s worth remembering –not only at Eastertime, but all year long.
Suggestions for practicing this choice:
- It is one week until Easter. Find a Christian church, go to it on Easter and listen to the message.
- Think how God uses the resurrection to bind Christianity together realizing that although most Christian churches differ in many of their teachings, most are all agreed that Christ was crucified, died and rose again.
- If you have a problem with the secular aspects of Easter read Easter, Is It Pagan by Ralph Woodrow.
- Repeat this often: Jesus lives and He is with me always! (Matthew 28:20)
- Don’t be afraid to embrace the true meaning of Easter. It reminds us of what we sometimes forget the rest of the year. Christ is risen and lives!