Easter arrives early this year, but the resurrection message is the same

Published 1:03 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

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For millions of Christians, the holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurs after a 40-day period known as Lent. The Sunday after the last day of Lent is Easter and is often celebrated with church services and prayer. For many others, the Sunday is associated with brightly colored eggs and bunny rabbits.

Each year, Easter falls on a different day. This year, it is a little early. Easter’s date changes depending on the year. The holiday is one of several “moveable feasts” in the liturgical year. Others include Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, both of which are associated with Easter.

It has been a while since Easter was in March; 2016, to be exact.

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The next time Easter will fall in March will be in 2027.

Easter is celebrated two ways, one is with church services and prayer; the other comes with brightly colored eggs, candy and the Easter Bunny. For many, the day is a combination of the two. But some of the traditions used to celebrate Easter have Christian roots.

In Christianity, the day is a remembrance of the sacrifices of Jesus Christ. Even the eggs that people dye for Easter symbolize new life and rebirth, according to Britannica. The eggs also signify the empty tomb of Jesus. In Orthodox Christian tradition, eggs are painted red to symbolize the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.

As for the Easter Bunny, it is a bit more vague on where the tradition comes from. However, since ancient times, the hare has been said to represent rebirth, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

But Easter is not about egg hunts and bunnies, it is about celebrating our Savior, Jesus. Many churches in our area will be having special services Sunday – sunrise services, cantatas. Some churches will have breakfast following the sunrise service.

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, without the resurrection our faith is useless. For Christians, Easter should be the most joyous time of the year. Christ’s death on the cross on Good Friday was intended to be a message that God so loved the world and was so committed to supporting humanity that he would give his son as a perfect sacrifice for the purpose.  

It was a sign that through faith all sins are forgivable, and that no matter what the situation, there is always hope. Christians believe Jesus’ death was an opening of the door to everlasting life, toward a new eternity of paradise. His miraculous emerging from the tomb was a sign to everyone that even death, as the world had always known it, cannot overpower God, and that promise lives on with Jesus’ resurrection.

Sometimes in the world, two millennia removed from this momentous event, it’s easy to get distracted by the noise of modern life, by the shiny objects that seem to surround us all, and pull us off course.

And that is the beauty of Easter (and Lent that precedes it); it demands that we focus on this self-renewal, this recalibrating of our souls so that we get back on course, and try again to lead a life that is more in keeping with what Jesus prescribed for his followers.

It’s a time when all come to realize that even though our hopes and dreams and even our actions fall short, there is time, an opportunity to not only do better, but to lay the foundation for the eternal life that the miracle of Easter portends.

That is, if we put our objective and our hearts, minds and actions into focusing on what will guarantee us eternal life, including loving God and one another, we can always find hope and joy not just at Easter, but all year long.

And this is why Easter is the most important time of the year for Christians everywhere, in Elizabethton and around the world. Hope is always something we could use more of, and that is what Easter is all about.

No matter how you celebrate, may you have a blessed Easter weekend.