It seems like Easter sneaks up on me every year. Maybe it’s because the date of Easter jumps so haphazardly around the calendar like it’s a cricket trapped in a shoebox. Perhaps it sneaks up on me because I’m too busy eating the chocolate eggs that appear in the store on February 15th.
But I think the actual reason Easter sneaks up on me is because I don’t prepare for Easter. Not only that, many of our churches fail to prepare for Easter- at least not like they prepare for Christmas. In my church we start singing Christmas hymns on December 1st. We hang the green. We decorate the sanctuary with ten feet tall (at least) Christmas trees. We have a church-wide Christmas dinner. We give gifts to families. We construct a living nativity scene complete with live sheep, goats and a donkey. We even have a life-size wooden nativity set that sits in a window over the main entrance to the church and which probably cost $25,000- or something equally ridiculous.
What do we do for Easter? Nothing.
We don’t begin singing Easter hymns weeks before Easter. We don’t decorate the church for Easter. We don’t give anything to the community. We definitely don’t have a $25,000 life-sized wooden Easter scene.
It seems like Easter sneaks up on me every year.
It seems like we don’t really care about Easter like we care about Christmas, VBS, Halloween alternative events, Thanksgiving or summer camp.
In light of all this, I’m doubting Easter. I doubt that Easter means anything to the modern Christian church.
Obviously, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here, although not as much as I would like. Hopefully your church prepares for Easter and thankfully there are churches and denominations that truly prepare for Easter thought the observance of Ash Wednesday, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
I doubt that Easter means anything to the modern Christian church.
What does it mean to those inside our churches and outside our churches when we seemingly emphasize every other holiday and every other event over Easter?
Theologically, it shows that we don’t understand God’s plan and our own salvation. God’s plan and our salvation culminate in the Resurrection of Easter morning and nothing else. God’s plan wasn’t only the incarnation that we celebrate at Christmas. By our attention and money, however, to those inside and outside the church the culmination and of God’s plan for our salvation ranks low on the list of priorities.
Socially, it shows that we are just as consumer driven as the culture around us. We love Christmas because of the gifts. We love Halloween for the candy. We love Thanksgiving for the food. In many ways we are just as consumer driven as the culture around us. Easter isn’t one of the sexy holidays- unless you’re into Peeps and pastel colors and because it’s not one of the sexy holidays it get forgotten.
Evangelistically, it shows that the message of Jesus isn’t important for those around us. If the Resurrection and Easter are the central and culminating work of God for our salvation, what does it show those around us when it barely makes a blip on our radar? It shows that the message of Jesus isn’t very important to us and it isn’t very important for those around us.
Easter shouldn’t sneak up on us and it shouldn’t merely be another day. It should be the highlight of our calendar year and the celebration of our whole lives.