Easter or Resurrection Sunday?
Some have criticized Easter for being a holiday with pagan roots. In the early centuries of the Church it was quite common to commandeer pagan celebrations and offer Christian alternatives … much as many churches do today with Halloween. Sharing a date with such non-Christian events does not negate the value of these days for Christians.
The celebration of Christ’s resurrection apparently replaced a pagan festival that honored Eastre, a Germanic goddess of spring, beginning in the middle of the second century. Thus Resurrection Sunday is a far better name and representation of the true meaning of the day.
The celebration of Christ’s resurrection stands at the pinnacle of Christian remembrances. Christmas celebrates the Incarnation — the beginning of the working out of God’s plan of salvation. Resurrection Sunday is even more important than Jesus’ coming to Earth because it completed this vast plan of salvation. When the Son of God was raised from the dead, everything had been done that was necessary to provide salvation for sinful mankind. Because of this, Christians rightly celebrate the Resurrection year-round.
But Easter is also important with regard to evangelism. Multitudes of people who seldom darken the door of a church will show up on an Easter Sunday. That makes this day a wonderful yearly opportunity to proclaim the truths that lie at the core of our faith. Easter is rightly a joyous celebration of a powerful spiritual truth that has continued to impact lives for nearly 2,000 years.
The true meaning of Easter means Resurrection Sunday is a better name. It is a celebration of the historical fact that Christ rose from the dead, as well as the fact that we serve a living Savior today.
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