Yesterday Pastor's daughter asked me what my favorite holiday was. Tough question for me. I'm a big fan of every day, so holidays, other than better food than usual, aren't much different in my book. My birthday doesn't feel anymore special than June 27th.
But I told her there are two holidays I like because of the meanings behind them. One is Thanksgiving. Not only is it the most American holiday we have (it revolves almost exclusively around eating and football, two great American pastimes) but it also is one of the most Christian holidays. Giving thanks is something Christians ought to be doing at all times, so a day set aside to honor that very Christian trait is fantastic.
My other favorite holiday just occurred. Easter is probably my favorite. I'm all about discount candy the day after (Walgreens here I come!). But the candy is the least of my joys on Easter. Yesterday we Christians celebrate the most important thing that ever happened in the history of the world: the resurrection of Jesus Christ! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
How cool is it that my God, after succumbing to sin's punishment, after dying in Satan's darkness, broke that power. He didn't let sin and death stop Him. He defeated them, showed His mastery over them, crushed them under His foot and rose in power and glorious light!
To my shame, I didn't even understand the significance of the Resurrection until last year. I'd been through Sunday School, Christian school and most of Bible college before asking the question, "Why is Sunday such a big deal, if what He did Friday is what we actually saved me from sin?" In other words, why do we make such a big deal out of the cross but celebrate the Resurrection? Shouldn't our big holiday be on Friday?
Paul answers it all in 1 Corinthians 15. He says in verse 17, "If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" Wow! How important is the Resurrection then? REALLY important! It makes everything done on Friday worth it! Without Sunday Friday means nothing! Without power over sin and sin's punishment, there is no forgiveness and atonement for sin! If Christ is not raised, I will not be raised! That's key!
And that's why I love Easter so much. It's not just a celebration of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. It's a celebration of my new life in Him, a celebration of a hope I have for eternity. It's a reminder of Heaven! That's awesome! Listen the hymn writer and follow his suggestion in "He Lives"--"Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing, eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!"
He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!