I get frustrated with Easter every year. What is it? It is a holiday? Not really. The two hallmarks of a holiday, in my America, anyway, are a day off of work and an epic meal. The odd family may do an Easter feast, but it is by no means the rule. And as a child, you don't get that excited for it. It's some chocolate, some eggs, a few laughs--but you have to dress nice, and drive to Grandma's, so it's kind of a wash.
The problem is, we don't know what we're celebrating. And that cuts both ways. From a secular perspective all you're seeing is that the idea of the bunny rabbit is getting much too much attention. There's chocolate in it for you, if that's you're thing, but that's about the extent of it. But for Christian's it's even worse. Put on your Sunday best (an anachronism, dating back to Nobody Cares), get together with the like-minded and say "He is Risen!" with the correct amount of excitement, do your Easter egg hunt with the kids but make sure you put a Christian spin on it somehow (there isn't one, but that doesn't stop you), get a good deal on a ham and call it a day.
God save us from the insanity.
I hate showing up to the family gathering and not acknowledging why we are there. We are there because it is Easter. But can I ask the question, WHAT IS EASTER? (I'll get to that in a second.) This desire to talk about why we are all gathered here doesn't so much come from the proselytizer in me (because, frankly, there isn't much of one, I'm much too much of a timid people pleaser for that), as it does from the logician. Although we are all inconsistent to a certain degree, I still cannot help but point that out for others. I wouldn't celebrate a holiday that I didn't believe in, so what's your excuse?
WHAT IS EASTER? Well it isn't any of the above. I was listening to theologian NT Wright talk about this once. So if you don't mind, I shall paraphrase as best I can from the year old memory: We make much too little of Easter. We should be popping champagne corks all week long and having a raucous party. The Resurrection is the exclamation point on all that Jesus said and did. The Resurrection is the proof that what he said is true. And if what he said is true, then That Changes Everything. Now, we don't really live like we believe everything that Jesus said and did was true, but during Easter we should at least have the decency to fake like we do.
If what Jesus said is true it means that life does not have to be ultimately tragic. If Jesus was right then he offers a constructive solution to the grinding powers of the world that demands your best and punishes you anyway. Jesus may have been wrong--but I don't believe that. If I were to make my life be consistent with the bigness, the otherworldlyness, the revolutionary nature of his proclamation, then, at the very least--
I should be celebrating with champagne this week.