It is particularly fitting that Easter falls in the spring. The sense of warmth, of renewal, of life blooming after the cold winter all these are apppropriate to the Easter message of life and death, of crucifixtion and resurrection.

Christianity, of course, deals with the life of Jesus Christ, his teachings, his example, his truth. It is a life worth emulating; indeed, that is one of his purposes to show the way.But it is Easter that commemorates the transcendent lesson of the life of Christ. The Easter season recalls not merely teachings, but dramatic acts that continue to affect all of humanity even 2,000 years later.

Christ's atonement and suffering in the Garden of Gesthemane for the sins of all mankind, his deliberate sacrifice of his own life on the cross, and his subsequent rise from the tomb, the electrifying conquest of death itself these have profound meanings that do not fade with time.

Easter is a celebration of hope. It is centered around one remarkable fact that Jesus is not a dead hero but a live one. And that where he has gone, we surely will follow. Death could not hold him, and because it could not, it will not hold any of us, either.

What an all-encompassing hope that can be. It can bring a sense of continuity, of future, in a world that has always seemed too fragile, too temporary, too uncertain. Yet because of Easter and the knowledge it brings, there is strength and peace.

In a world stricken with suffering all the ills that humanity mostly inflicts upon itself, that hope, that peace, that comfort, are sorely needed. That is the value of Easter, to point our minds in the directions of eternity and to put the fleeting, temporary things of this world in their proper place.

Colored eggs, candies, rabbits, and new clothes are childish things, something on the edge of Easter. They should not be allowed to crowd out the holiday's central message.

Easter essentially means eternal life. It means the reality of immortality. It means that life and growth are the proper state of man, not decay and death. It means that no matter how hard the winter of human mortality and death, there will be a glorious spring. That is the Savior's promise.