Why Easter is Sacred to Me -
by Paul Race, from Family Christmas Online™
Christmas may make me sentimental or wistful, or thankful, but Easter makes me think about the sacrifice Jesus paid and the many things His resurrection accomplished.
Among other things, the Resurrection:
- Fulfilled the Father's plan of redemption,
- Proved that our debt was paid in full,
- Proved that Jesus has conquered Death and Hell,
- Proved that Jesus now reigns in power,
- Showed us a glimpse of our own reward, and
- Proved that, however life beats us down, we are on the winning side!
I first collected a list such as the list above back in 1987, when I was a young part-time minister preparing for an Easter "sunrise service" for a tiny church. Little did I know at the time that our church and our family were soon to enter a series of crises that eventually included lies and public attacks by religious leaders, and outright betrayal by our "closest friends" in the church. (No we don't go there any more, in case you wondered.)
Of course the same and much worse happened to Jesus, followed by torture and agonizing death. But the emotional impact of that period of our lives helps me realize that, even though He knew it was coming, it must have hurt to see His friends abandon or betray him as they did.
As crazy as it must sound, I think that the crises that began in 1987 drove the truths of the Resurrection into my heart like nails into my hands and feet. The empty tomb, the folded gravecloths, the apostles' confusion, and the heavenly messengers are all the more real to me for having been my comfort and companions during those dark days.
Nowadays, when I think of Jesus' resurrection, I think of how it proves that Jesus accomplished everything He set out to do on our behalf - paying the price for the sins of the world, conquering death and hell, and becoming the "first fruits" of the resurrection.
Last Easter season, I came across an original scrap of notebook paper that dated back to my preparations for Easter, 1987. I couldn't help it - I went into a sort of profound contemplation as quickly as if someone had thrown a switch. But the old heartsick pain I used to feel when I thought about those lines or those days is gone. What is left is a consuming sense of the life-shattering importance of the Resurrection, both to those who believe and to those who don't believe.
These days, those old emotional wounds are like battle scars that have healed but still occasionally remind veterans of what they have been through. I can't think about Easter without a visceral emotional response that would never have come otherwise. Awe, reverence, devotion, commitment, prayer all play a part. Sacred is the only word that contains them all.
May God bless you and your loved ones with grace and protection this season.
- Paul Race.
For more information about Easter, Easter traditions, and related subjects:
- Introduction to Easter - A brief introduction and links to our other articles.
- Easter: Frequently Asked Questions - Want to know why Holy Week wanders around the calendar? What the Stations of the Cross are? Why we call Easter "Easter" when almost every other culture calls it "Pasch"? And many more.
- The Timeline of the Resurrection - If you read the gospel accounts one at a time, they can be confusing. This shows the timeline, as most people see it.
- Why Easter is Sacred to Me
- The Myth of the Myth of the Easter Bunny - Where did the Easter Bunny really come from and how did it get attached to so many urban legends?
- Timeline of Easter Traditions - how far back in time do Easter Eggs, or the Easter Bunny go? Did the church really start celebrating the Resurrection as late as the fourth century AD, as certain writers would have you believe? Was the ancient Teutonic deity some folk claim was the original source of all of our doctrine and celebrations of the Resurrection really - for all intents and purposes - invented eighteen centuries after Jesus' crucifixion?
- Eostre: Frequently Asked Questions - Why do we "know" so much about Jacob Grimm's hypothetical ancient Germanic goddess today when all we have is a single allusion ancient writings, and research has turned up no new facts since 725AD?
- Bede's Statement about the Saxon Name for Pasch (Easter) - A brief look at the only mention of anyone named anything like Eostre or Ostara in anywhere before 1835.
- Jacob Grimm - A brief look at Grimm's research and why this fairy-tale collector and linguist invented a hypothetical "ancient" Germanic goddess in 1935 and dubbed her Ostara (the German equivalent of the Saxon "Eostra").
- Pope Gregory's Letter to Mellitus - a look Pope Gregory's 601AD letter to a missionary trying to reach the Saxons in Britain. We list it here only because so many writers misrepresent its contents.
- To My Pagan Friends at Easter - A side note to folks who need to believe in something.
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