I was listening to the radio this morning while exercising, and I heard a very strange commercial. A well-known one-stop-shopping center was advertising “everything you need for Easter”: candy, eggs, dye kits, baskets, gifts, toys, the plastic fake grass that gets everywhere and can never be completely cleaned up. That commercial was a bit disheartening to me, because one completely commercialized Christian holiday (Christmas) is more than enough, in my opinion.
But then I got to thinking: what do we really need for Easter? Certainly we don’t need candy, hard-boiled eggs, gifts, baskets, chocolate bunnies, and so forth. (Although I admit that I do enjoy a good chocolate bunny.) Those are all extras, add-ons, unnecessary ways that people spend money in order to observe a holiday.
My first answer to this question was straightforward: “We just need an empty tomb.” Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, there would be no Easter, no celebration, no Christian religion at all. The way Jesus conquered the grave gives us ultimate hope for this life and for the life to come.
But then I settled on a second answer: “We need the cross and an empty tomb.” Without the cross, there is no tomb to be made empty on the third day. Jesus’s victory over death means nothing if he has not conquered sin as well.
Brothers and sisters, as we walk through the upcoming week known as “Holy Week,” the most important week of the year, let us remember what we truly need in order to celebrate this season. Enjoy all the trappings of the secular Easter season. But make it a point to remember frequently the true stories that make this such a celebration:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.