Why I Celebrate Easter Everyday
Easter bunnies. A bloody cross. Luscious yellow Peeps. A deadly betrayal. Would you believe me if I said all of these things were like the other?
The secularization of religious holidays is nothing new. Baby Jesus vs. Santa Claus is hardly an argument anymore; Christmas simply has two different definitions, applicable to two different ways of life.
Growing up in a Southern Baptist church means I’ve known the religious stories behind both holidays my entire life. Christmas celebrates when God sent down his Son to be born of a virgin, destined to save humanity from sin. Easter celebrates the Son’s death on the Cross, which fulfilled the prophecy and gave all believers everlasting life.
For many, Easter is about spending time with family, springtime, and candy—beautiful things on their own, but only a fraction of what Christians celebrate. Instead, Easter for Christians is about a wicked death, an awesome miracle, and an amazing gift.
You see, my favorite thing about being a Christian has always been the promise of grace. No matter how sinful I am, no matter how many times I screw up, I know that I am always forgiven because someone has already atoned for anything and everything I may do wrong. Someone took that burden from me and carried it on his back all the way to a hilltop, so He could hang on the Cross. He gave up His life so that I can be free.
Good Friday, which honors this sacrifice, more or less means the same thing to everyone who celebrates it, because it hasn’t been secularized. But Easter Sunday itself, which originated to honor the resurrection, now means many different things to many different people.
I sometimes hear fellow Christians turn their noses up at this, mumbling about how we should strive to preserve the original sanctity of the holiday. I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as much as people make it out to be. Like any religious holiday, no matter how much the Hallmark card industry secularizes Easter, the flip side to your personal celebration doesn’t have to affect how you spend the day.
I don’t know what a “secular” Christmas or Easter celebration is like. All I know is that it probably consists of Sunday brunch, egg decorating and/or hunting, and giant chocolate bunnies. I’m guessing there’s no 11 o’clock church service, especially long blessing, or Scripture reading. I’ll never be able to separate Easter from the promise of grace, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to. My definition of Easter, like that of many other Christians, is always going to be a little heavier. There’s always going to be a little mourning and a lot of gratitude.
Easter for me will never be a holiday that comes and goes with Walmart’s seasonal shelves. In fact, it’s something I celebrate year around, whether or not I recognize it as such. Easter is the remembrance of a wonderful sacrifice and the commemoration of a wonderful miracle. It’s something that affects me every day, because everyday I screw up and everyday I am forgiven.
If you celebrate Santa Claus instead of the baby Jesus and the Easter bunny instead of the Cross, that’s great. There’s two sides to every coin. The bottom line is that I hope your Easter is full to the brim with beautiful things, whether or not that means the same thing to you as it does to me.