Easter is–hands down–the most important holiday in all branches of Christianity. Easter represents precisely everything that is fundamental to the Christian religions: A man venerated as the physical embodiment of god is resurrected. Without the resurrection, the death of Jesus is nothing more than a passing obituary. Because most Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected, the idea is self-reinforcing. That is, Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected, therefore they believe in Christ, and because they believe in Christ, they believe that Jesus was resurrected. I cannot stress this enough. Easter represents the very essence of Christian doctrine.
Yet, most Christians (in the US at least) are rather blasé about the entire holiday. But I should put this idea into perspective first.
From Black Friday through the New Year, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. We could even be forgiven if we scale this back to 1 November through the New Year. But births are not very remarkable. I’ve had one. You’ve had one. Everyone alive and everyone who has ever lived and died had one (except one person, according to the bible). Yet, despite the relative insignificance of a single boy’s (alleged) birth, Christians dedicate an insane amount of time, money, and energy to celebrating Christmas, complete with gift giving, caroling, tacky decorations, charitable donations, and massive Christmas feasts. The celebration of Christmas is treated like an absolute monarch who demands 100% attention. Yet, Easter, on the other hand, is barely a footnote in the book of celebrations.
I have never been a Christian, so please forgive me if my interpretation of the holiday is inaccurate. But it appears to me that most Christians don’t put nearly the amount of effort into celebrating the resurrection of their god as they do into celebrating the mere birth of Jesus. In April, there are no long, protracted displays of seasons greetings, “tis the season’s,” gift giving (outside of candy to children), or any other phenomenon associated with Christmas. Indeed, most department stores are open on Easter, while virtually all US department stores are closed on 25 December.
There are some similarities, however. For Christmas, a fat man dresses up in red, pretending to be a supernatural being, and takes pictures with children in every shopping mall in America. For Easter, some bloke dons a bunny costume, pretending to be a supernatural rabbit, and takes pictures with children in the same malls. But outside of that, the holidays are miles apart. Christmas even has its own album collections by Nat King Cole and Elvis Presley. Easter gets a song by Carrie Underwood.
This divorce between Christmas and Easter celebrations has always seemed like a baffling absurdity to me. Despite the fact that Easter represents the core of Christian belief, it’s treated with less reverence than 4 July, Valentines Day, or even (Jehovahs Witnesses, you better cover your eyes) Halloween.
I’m not criticizing Christians for dedicating so much attention to Christmas and barely any to Easter. I think they’re both block-headed holidays. But this has always troubled me. So dear Christians and former Christians, please shed some light on this. Why not put the same amount, if not more, effort into celebrating the resurrection of Jesus as you do in his birth?