Despite the rush to warm weather playgrounds this weekend, the celebration of Easter is anything but just another holiday. In a fundamental way, Easter is a recognition of the most profound event in human history, one that affects every man, woman and child who has ever lived on the Earth or ever will.
That event is, of course, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and, with it, the promise that every person will likewise rise from the grave, that death is only temporary, and that all of humanity is immortal.Alongside such a message, there is nothing that can compare. The Resurrection makes life bigger than the incidentals of daily living and stretches it into infinity.
This being the case, there is an important corollary - that life has direction, meaning and purpose on a enormous scale; that life is to be spent in ways that are consistent with that grand design.
Such a view is at the heart of religion. The suffering and death of Jesus Christ, while fraught with profound consequences for all mankind, are not the culmination and symbol of his ministry. The Resurrection holds that special place. It's life, not death, that is inherent in Christ's role.
There is something deeply humbling about being the beneficiaries of such an opulent and profound gift. That's why Easter properly is a season of thanksgiving as well as a celebration of the eternal potential of life. It is not about colored eggs, candy or new clothes.
It is fitting that Easter comes in the spring, when a world buried and frozen by winter, stirs with new life. The air warms, plants begin to grow, green returns to the landscape and there is a sense of newness, of energy, of the enjoyment of being alive.
Yet spring and the Easter celebration are not tied together simply because they share some emotional characteristics. The Resurrection was a real event, not a mythical one. And its time is clearly marked in history as being in the spring near the time of the Jewish Passover.
Easter is a reminder of the love of God. It is a time to remember what has been done for mankind and to think about the personal consequences of immortality. It is a reminder to put little things in their place and to understand that money, possessions, position and power are all temporary and are counted among the "little things."
The value of Easter is to lift us above despair, above materialism and the shortness of life and to remind us that our feet are treading a road that is already leading us - all of us - into a waiting eternity.