Thoughts on Celebrating Easter

Earlier this week I mentioned to Daniel that I didn’t feel like I had prepared my heart to celebrate the Resurrection this coming Sunday. I realized that I had allowed all of the busyness of life to overshadow the coming celebration. But then I realized something even greater—I never let that happen with Christmas.

Christmas is a whole other story. I schedule Christmas preparation. I make sure I buy presents. I make sure I watch The Nativity Story. I make sure I read about the coming birth of our Christ. But with Easter, I just sort of let it surprise me.

Noel Piper has a really helpful explanation for why this often happens:

“Over the course of the Lenten and Easter season, we are remembering the lowest points of sin and the highest peaks of what God has done for us through Jesus. We have a way, the only way, to the Father through Jesus. That’s worth celebrating! And yet every year somehow it’s so easy for Easter to slip up on us, and suddenly we’re saying, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s Palm Sunday already!’ Although Easter is the highest celebration of the Christian year, it doesn’t have the fascination and thrill that surrounds Christmas. There’s a reason: The death of Jesus was a very somber and tragic event, and we had a part in causing it. But we mustn’t avoid preparation for Easter simply because the sober, contemplative season of Lent precedes it.”

(Treasuring Christ in Our Traditions, pg. 92 emphasis mine)

Maybe you aren’t thinking, “the fact that I caused Jesus’ death makes me not want to prepare for Easter,” but in a lot of ways it just seems harder to celebrate death, doesn’t it? We aren’t accustomed to it. We rejoice when a baby is born, but we mourn when a person dies. The beauty and glory of Jesus’ death is that it doesn’t end there. He rises! And the very fact that he died, bore our sin, and conquered death should make us celebrate in the greatest way. Christmas is meaningless if it doesn’t point forward to the greatest event of all—the event that gave us life. That is why we celebrate.

The fact that I wasn’t thinking about the celebration of Easter reveals a lot more about my own response toward what has been accomplished for me than it does about the event itself. I can sing “Hallelujah, What a Savior” tomorrow morning because he bore the wrath that was reserved for me. And the sad reality is that I don’t ponder that enough.

The days leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday are a call to ponder and reflect. We are so prone to forget. We need the reminders. My prayer for myself is that next year I would schedule Easter like I schedule Christmas—and spend more time meditating on what Christ has done for me.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”—Romans 5:8-9

Now that is something worth celebrating.