Ask a group of people their favorite holiday and well over half of them are going to say Christmas. Other answers thrown in there may include Thanksgiving, New Years, Halloween or the Fourth of July. Maybe, just maybe, if you ask enough people one of them will say Easter.
I really don’t care to debate the best holiday and reasons why it stands far above others. I’ve just been thinking a lot about how much Christmas and Easter go together. Without the celebration of Christmas there would be nothing to celebrate at Easter. Likewise without the celebration of Easter there would be nothing to celebrate at Christmas.
I mean yes you can give presents to people and expect them to do the same to you. Or you can hide easter eggs and let the little children go find them.
But you can’t celebrate a risen king without celebrating a savior born in Bethlehem. You can’t celebrate a little baby born in a manger without celebrating the empty tomb. And you sure can’t celebrate a life of miracles performed, people healed, teachings, lessons on servant hood, lightness brought into a world of darkness without celebrating both a man who was born in a stable and who took on the sins of the world and died only to rise from the grave three days later.
You can sit and debate whether Christmas is the best holiday because you get presents. A new tv, lots of cool clothes and the best new toy out on the market. Or Easter is the best holiday because it clearly has the best candy. I mean you have peeps, robin’s eggs, peanut butter eggs, jelly beans!
But if your argument comes from either one of these standpoints you are missing it completely. You are missing what is being celebrated. You are missing the parallelism these two holidays, although months apart, have with each other.
During the Christmas season it is fun and wonderful to celebrate the little baby who was born of a virgin. The baby who slept among the animals upon first entering the world. A little baby whose parents were commoners, not a king and queen. A baby who was God in flesh.
During Easter festivities it is exciting to celebrate a man who humbled himself to become flesh and live a life knowing it would end in death. A man who loved enough to give his life so that others may live. A man who knew it would be an excruciating death but trusted his father enough to say I will drink from this cup if it is your will. A man whose body was placed in a tomb only to RISE FROM THE GRAVE! A man who arisen from the grave walked among men and women again. A man who promised the Spirit would live among us as he went to reign in heaven with his father. A man who gave it all for you and me.
See the undeniable parallelism here? We can’t think of one without the other. The life can’t be separated. We can’t choose to box his birth in to just Christmas time. Or remember his resurrection only at Easter. They walk hand in hand. If you just want to celebrate the birth of someone why not choose a king on earth? If you want to celebrate a man who rose from the dead why not celebrate Lazarus?
But if you want to celebrate the whole life of a man who gave up the reigning beside his father in heaven to be born in a dirty stable beside animals, be friends with thieves, liars, and his followers, die on the cross, rise from the grave, and then ascend to heaven to reign with his father again Jesus is your man.
He is the one whose life is to be celebrated during the Christmas season, the Easter season and every other day of the year!