Easter is one of those holidays that never seems adequately celebrated. At the beginning of spring, winter is dying away and the pace of life is quickening in anticipation of warmer weather (which in New England, you have to anticipate by faith some years) and more time outdoors. Easter slips by in a flurry of fuzzy chicks, dyed eggs, new clothing, and ham dinners. But there is so much more to the purpose behind the holiday than this.
Easter, or rather Resurrection Day, to put it more accurately, celebrates one of the greatest climaxes of the story of mankind. It is the fulfillment of the oldest promise on record, kept centuries after it was made. Were it not for Easter, we would have nothing to celebrate at Christmas. For if Christ were only a good prophet like some claim Him to be, and not the Savior of the world, His birth would be inconsequential and His death on the cross would mean nothing other than that He is a liar and a failure. But because Jesus was the Messiah, given to us through the miraculous virgin birth, and because He lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and rose on the third day, Easter is the completion of the gift that we unwrapped on Christmas morning.
Easter is victory, accomplishment, and conquering. There were no human eyes to witness the moment when life returned to Jesus’ body, but if there had been, imagine what they might have seen. Jesus’ body lay still and cold in the dark tomb. In the most important moment in the history of the entire world, his chest, still for three long days, moves. The breath of life which He gave up on the cross reenters His body, and He emerges from the darkness of death into unconquerable life. Scarred and sacred, His resurrected body will bear the signs of our sins for eternity.
Easter is the celebration of this defining moment of victory. All of God’s signs, wonders, and promises led up to this moment. Like the first light of dawn, it is so quiet, so unpretentious, and yet it means so much. This moment means that God really does keep His promises. It means that Jesus really was the Messiah. It means that salvation really is ours for the believing. The blood-stained cross, the torn temple curtain, and the empty grave all silently shout testimony of how deeply God wants us close to Him.
So in the bright mix of Easter baskets and sunrise services, let us carry the joyful reverence of knowing what Resurrection Day is really all about, and engage in full-hearted praise to the God who keeps His promises.