In our culture, Christmas seems to trump Easter. Just think about it for a second. Christmas, essentially, is a month long holiday for Americans and other westerners. Stores begin decorating in November, and sometimes in October. We have parties beginning on December 1st and they continue all the way through December 25th. There are parties at your office, and parties at your church groups, and parties at your school. Christmas music plays on the radio, having begun sometime shortly before Thanksgiving. People run themselves ragged trying to fulfill a perceived religious obligation, while also trying to meet the dictates of their larger culture, pushed along by a hyped commercialism that is interested in cash more than it is in the birth of God to humanity. The baby Jesus is almost front and center for the month, even in secular and worldly circles. He is only partly eclipsed by Santa Clause.
But not Easter. Easter gets no parties. Have you ever been invited to the office Easter party? There’s no Easter music on the radio. No one runs themselves ragged. For the most part, the celebration of Easter is limited to a single day. Interestingly, at Easter there are no images of Jesus in the larger culture – only in Christian circles. There is no Easter equivalent of the nativity scene in your local mall. You won’t find any depictions of the stone rolled away, or an empty tomb, or an empty Cross. Jesus is not just eclipsed by the Easter Bunny, he’s simply not there at all.
Of course this is not a dig on Christmas. You can’t, after all, have Easter without it. But Easter is, by far, the more significant holiday. And its greater significance likely is the reason you find Christmas being celebrated with so much more fervor. Satan does not wish for Easter to be celebrated with the same intensity. To paraphrase how one writer put it not too long ago: You don’t have to believe that Jesus is God to enjoy Christmas. You can celebrate Christmas as the birth of a great or wonderful man who taught us to love one another. But he’s still just a man. This is not the case with Easter. Easter shouts how Jesus died for humanity, and reconciled it to God — and not just humanity as a collective, but every human individually. It also shouts, triumphantly, that his death (and yours) doesn’t have to be permanent. If you are reading this, the significance of Resurrection Sunday is that you can have eternal life, and that your past can be erased, and that a future of goodness is guaranteed.
You can look at Christmas and reject its divinity. You cannot do so with Easter. The empty tomb is proof of divine involvement. Easter is the fulfillment of God’s mission to earth.