Christmas versus Easter

We spend so much time, energy and stress celebrating Christmas when the major Christian holiday should be Easter.

True, at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus and what a momentous event that was! But we also max out our credit cards, deal with the dynamics of family get-togethers and go to office parties that we really don’t care about. We worry about buying the best gifts – “Will she really like this?” and try to figure out how to graciously accept the gifts we don’t really want. We spend hours in lines either buying or returning gifts, then add to our landfills when we throw away wrappings, ribbons and boxes. We dutifully attend Christmas programs and take videos of our kids in their cute Christmas outfits, all the while hoping we can somehow manage to eat the Christmas goodies without gaining weight. Somewhere during the pre-Thanksgiving through post-Christmas season, we remember the squalid manger, a scared teenaged mother and a bunch of smelly animals. So we sing “Silent Night” and say a quickie prayer of thanks for that baby born under the Bethlehem sky.

But Easter is another matter. Sure, we can still get caught up in the dyeing of eggs, the filling of baskets and the baking of the ham. But for the most part, Easter is less stressful and more of a contemplative holiday. Plus, we only have one week to really consider what it’s all about.

One week to remember the horrific destruction of a young man’s body – how flogging and crucifixion induced painful inflammation, tetanus and an excruciating death. One week to think about the disciples who fled in fear, then wonder if we wouldn’t have done the same thing. One week to marvel at the miracle of the resurrection and how awesome it must have been to see the risen Lord. One week to take communion and truly remember Jesus. One week to read each of the Gospel renditions and compare the lyrical version of John’s story to the logic of Matthew’s.

One week. Maybe this Easter week will represent a 360 in our busy schedules. Maybe we will realize our need for a Savior and truly understand what Jesus did for us on that old rugged cross. Maybe this Easter, we will decide to fill our Easter baskets with a gratitude that reaches beyond the April holiday and flows all the way to next December.

Maybe this year, Easter and Christmas will erupt with personal revivals around the globe. Now that would be a reason to celebrate.

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