Once more, Easter is upon us and the stores are packed with eggs and bunnies of all sizes, made from chocolate, candy, and marshmallow. There are baskets overflowing with goodies for people of all ages. You can find an Easter card for anybody in your circle of friends.
Some people use the occasion as a reason to buy new clothes, while others choose to pay a visit to a special relative.
Children, especially the youngest ones look forward to the Easter egg hunts, where they can search for and enjoy the colorful eggs, supposedly left behind by the Easter Bunny. Some people wake up to find an Easter Basket sitting by their bedside, left there by someone special.
For many, that is what Easter is all about, the eggs, baskets, and bunnies. Many do not know the true meaning behind Easter celebrations. Egg laying bunnies can be traced back to pagan traditions according to the University of Florida Center for Children’s Literature and Culture. In 13th century Germany, people worshipped many gods, including Eostra, who was the goddess of spring and fertility. Celebrations honoring her were held on the Spring Equinox.
The true celebration of Easter is not about a fertile pagan goddess, rabbits that lay eggs, new clothes, or marshmallow chicks. It’s not about baskets overflowing with sugary treats or painted eggs hidden on the lawn. Easter is a celebration of a promise, made long ago by a loving Heavenly Father and fulfilled by his Son, Jesus Christ.
It’s a celebration of a promise that we are not traveling down life’s highway without the benefit of headlights, for Jesus Christ is our light.
It’s a celebration of fulfillment of a promise of everlasting life, made in Daniel, 12: 2-3. “2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
It’s a celebration of the promise Paul made to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15. I remember my grandmother reading this one to me shortly after my grandfather died, and I asked her why he had to go to heaven. She read verse 22 to me, which says, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” That was pretty complicated for my 6 year-old mind to understand, but years later I do understand it. Because of Adam’s sin, we all will die, but because of Jesus Christ, we will all live forever.
It’s a celebration of the promise made by Christ in John, Chapter 5, verses 28-29. Christ told us to, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” I find real peace in knowing from this message that we will rise to the sound of Christ’s voice.
In Matthew, Chapter 28, we are told of how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb of Christ at sunrise on the first day of the week, only to be met by an angel and told that Christ was not there, that he had risen and was now among them. I am reminded of this each Easter morning at sunrise, and I think of the fear and joy that these two women must have felt that first Easter morning; their hearts were full of joy that Jesus had risen and they rushed off to find him. We have the promise that we can rush to meet him when he returns.
It’s a celebration of all of the above, but most of all, it is a celebration of Jesus Christ, who told us in John, Chapter 11, verses 25 and 26, ” I am the resurrection and life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever believeth in me shall never die.” A simple promise, made long ago, but still valid today, tomorrow, and forever, if we believe.