I was meeting a friend for coffee a few days ago at a local coffeehouse when I arrived a few minutes before our scheduled meeting time. As I waited, I overheard two gentlemen discuss the question as to which Christian holiday was more important: Christmas or Easter. While it wasn’t necessarily my intent to eavesdrop, I found their conversation, debate, and rationale rather interesting. One of the guys said that clearly Christmas was more important than Easter and it can be seen in every facet of society. The celebrations are bigger. Indoor and outdoor decorations are more elaborate. People exchange Christmas cards and they rarely exchange Easter cards. Gift-giving is an elaborate process during Christmas and almost non-existent at Easter. Just when I thought he was going to completely ignore Jesus in his discussions, he threw in this comment at the very end, “Oh yeah. And you couldn’t have Easter if you didn’t have Christmas because Jesus would have never been born.” The second gentleman listened intently, nodded in agreement to some of the points, and waited patiently for his turn to speak. When he had an opportunity to share his thoughts, his comments were much less about the commercialism of the holidays and much more focused on the theology of the holidays. He seemed to sum up his thoughts about the commercial aspects in one brief sentence acknowledging that there are some gifts and candy given (especially to children), Easter egg hunts are often family traditions, and often times kids get their picture with both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. But then he said some theologically-based things that I
thought were thought-provoking. The second guy continued on to say that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be born into this world at Christmas. But it was Jesus who chose to be crucified, die on the cross and to be raised from the dead at Easter. Jesus had the power to keep those things from happening to Him, but He allowed them to happen because He knew He needed to die for our sins and to be raised for our salvation. He acknowledged that Christmas had to occur for Easter to occur, but Christmas could have occurred without Easter. It was Jesus’ love for us that allows our salvation because of His resurrection. I thought it was an interesting discussion to overhear, but I thought the second person made some really good points.
Sometimes Christmas feels more important because of the commercialism of the holiday. But if we look at the core of our Catholic faith, Easter is the most important celebration that we have in the Church each year. Our secular communities focus heavily on Christmas, but the Church focuses on Easter. We just completed the most holy week of our Church year. It started last week with Palm Sunday as we commemorated Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
This was followed shortly thereafter with Holy Thursday which recall’s Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples, Good Friday when Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, and the Easter Vigil when we mourn the emptiness in our hearts because of His death. But today we celebrate the most glorious day on the Church’s calendar: Easter Sunday! This is the day that we celebrate His resurrection for our salvation! On this holiest of holy days, pause to recall the goodness that God brings to our lives. Also, pause to appreciate all that we have in our lives. It is though God that we have the many gifts and blessings that we have. And may this Easter be your best Easter yet! Easter Blessings!
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC