How are you celebrating Easter? This should be the corollary question in the life of every Christian to What are you giving up for Lent? It feels holy to deny ourselves and give up something during the Lenten season but now that we have prepared our hearts and Resurrection Sunday has arrived we need to to engage in a second holy act—celebration!
Easter is not a single day on the Church calendar. It is a 50-day feast that lasts from Easter Sunday to Pentecost (May 15 this year) and the most important event in our year, even bigger than Christmas! We’re pretty good at celebrating Christmas so I am asking all of us to think about how we can be creative and bring some serious holiday cheer to the Easter Season. The stores have moved on and Hallmark has nothing for this season called Eastertide so it is up to us celebrate the Resurrection creatively and joyfully!
In my home we decorate for Eastertide, though I haven’t gone as far as setting up an Easter Tree. Each night I hide an Easter egg for my three year-old son to find in the morning so we can begin every day saying “Alleluia! Jesus is alive!” and eating chocolate. At dinner time we light a tall white candle that was at the center of our Advent wreath during Advent and Christmas. It now sits on the table surrounded by a wreath of flowers and we call it the Jesus candle, celebrating that he is alive and with us today. I have a special Easter playlist I like to listen to, filled with songs about Jesus, resurrection life, and lots of Alleluias. And we read the story of the resurrection again and again from every children’s Bible we have and practice shouting Alleluia!
It’s much easier for me to come up with ideas for celebrating Easter in my home now that I have a child. But I think the same principles hold true. We are called to celebrate Easter with the same intensity that we bring to our Lenten fasting. We celebrate that Jesus is alive! We celebrate that we are alive in him and, though someday we may die, we will be raised to life again when he returns. We celebrate that Jesus is a real living person in a real living body and that our bodies and the created world around us are good and worthy of celebrating. We celebrate because the whole Christian story hangs on one event: Christ died and was raised to life again.