For our culture, Christmas is perhaps the most important religious holiday. For Christians, however, Easter holds that position.
In her magnificent book Hope Has Its Reasons-Surprised by Faith in a Broken World, Rebecca Manley Pippert writes:
“That is the question. What on earth has happened to make us celebrate with such irrepressible joy, whether in Washington, San Francisco, Seoul, or Sydney? For a start, Christ came. He visited planet Earth–like a meteor from outer space with such an impact that the world has never been the same since. But that was only the beginning. When the worst our world could muster–death–was brought down on him, he rose from the dead. Yes, he blasted it open, brushed it aside and now the entire universe will never be the same. Where once it was a claustrophobic death-locked cell, a gaping hole for freedom has been torn by the resurrection. These two events, the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, have changed everything.”
For Christians, Easter is not their version of a winter-spring cycle of renewal. And despite some contemporary theologians who prefer to speak of Easter as a metaphor or a myth that embodies the heart of Christian teaching–Easter is an historic reality. It is the truth about a living person, Jesus Christ, who conquered the grave and who lives today. It is about a power, resurrection power, by which we are transformed into people capable of living with the amazing grace and unconditional love of God. It is the event and the person that changes everything. As surely as a meteor striking the planet would utterly change life as we know it.