Every year when we get to Holy Week, I have to sit back and wonder why Christians don’t make a ruckus about the commercialization of Easter the way many of them do about Christmas.
Of the two religious holidays, Easter is the more important. I realize Jesus had to be born in order for Christians to even be celebrating Easter, but if there had been no resurrection, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t celebrate Christmas. (At least that’s what my more theologically intelligent friends tell me.)
Yes, there are bunnies and rabbits and eggs and LOTS of chocolate candy around Easter. How this is any different than Santa Claus and reindeer and Frosty and eggnog, I don’t know. But even pagan origins and fertility symbols aside, if you ask someone about their plans for Easter, you’ll most likely get an answer that has something to do with brunch.
On top of that, pretty much zero stores and restaurants close for Easter. It’s more the opposite — it’s becoming a big sales day for both. We also typically work on Good Friday, which the Texas state government declares an optional holiday, meaning that persons of a particular religious persuasion can take the day off, if they swap it out with another vacation holiday, like Memorial Day. But not many Christians actually make a practice of this.
Let me be clear that I am not suggesting Christians stop hunting for eggs, forgo brunch, or shun anything resembling Peter Rabbit on Easter Sunday. I don’t think that’s necessary, any more than it’s necessary to fight verbal battles over manger scene displays or spelling out "Xmas". I’m just surprised that every Christmas, we can expect to hear lots of cable channel chatter about the secularization of the holiday, but when it comes to Easter, the only peeps are the ones on the grocery store candy aisle.
What Christians should do, in my humble estimation, is participate in Holy Week — the celebration of the final week of Jesus’ life and his resurrection — in any way possible. It’s too late to attend Palm Sunday or Maundy Thursday services, if you haven’t already, but there is still time to attend a Good Friday service. If you’ve never experienced this in a tenebrae version, I highly suggest it — Greenland Hills United Methodist Church is just one in our neighborhood offering such a service tonight.
As far as Easter Sunday morning services, take your pick. But if you need some direction, I’ll put in a plug for our neighborhood religion columnist, George Mason, whose Wilshire Baptist congregation is having a sunrise service at 7 a.m. on Tee Pee Hill at White Rock Lake (bring a blanket or lawn chair), plus services at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. in its sanctuary.
(By the way, to send Easter e-cards like the one above, you need to visit a hilarious new website with messages for pretty much any occasion. It does have an "intended for 18 and older" disclaimer, so use that to judge whether you’ll appreciate the humor. If you get worked up about manger scenes, it’s probably not for you.)
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