Monday, April 21, 2014

Quick Belated Thought on Easter Celebration

I'm not as critical of the springtime holiday we call Easter as I am of the more internally-flawed "Christmas" and "Valentine's Day." This is perhaps because Easter doesn't come with expectations of gift-giving as inherently wrapped up in its traditional practice.
Here's the problem with the expectation of getting a gift. If you don't do something, it causes resentment. This is wrong. It's not what generosity and gifts is about! A person getting a gift is grateful and pleased with the giver. But if they're expecting to be given something, then the gift is no longer a gift, it's a payment--a debt owed to the person getting the "gift." This is why a person would get angry if they don't get a gift--they're experiencing the same emotion as they would if the giver was in their debt, and defaulted on their loan--if they made a late payment....A person who gets material objects of desire on certain days each year develops an expectant desire for them, and experiences bitterness when they don't get them.[From February 11]
On the other hand, Easter has a number of traditional practices that aren't immediately apparent as an obvious symbolic reference to Christian doctrine. Perhaps in a spiritual-warfare sense, this is why Satanic attack has been more focused on the Christmas holiday, which at least comes associated with numerous Gospel-exultant charols and hymns, a clear threat to the powers and principalities of this world, which prefer that people not be confronted with such naked truth.

But it should be noted that while connections may be made, neither the date, name, or symbolism attached to Easter are inherently pagan or opposed to the Gospel message. The best reason for avoiding chocolate egg-laying bunnies is perhaps the same reason to avoid incorporating a 'Santa Claus' figure at "Christmas"-time: because it instills the wrong principle in children, that on such-and-such a special day each year, you'll get rewarded with treats or toys if you've behaved yourself. Rabbits and eggs, as symbols of prolific life, can be used as metaphors for the new, abundant life offered to believers because of Christ's atoning sacrifice and demonstrated true in His resurrection. But this connection is in my opinion more forced than the "be good, get candy" connection, and so I wouldn't attempt to encourage anyone to practice this tradition, although they could in theory do so with a clean conscience.

I agree with many that Resurrection Sunday is a preferable name because it emphasizes the undeniable connection the holiday has with the risen Savior, thereby making its observation more of a witnessing tool than it presently is. 

Because it is slightly less commercialized than the other main religious holiday in the West, I am less offended at it and haven't completely made up my mind to stubbornly refuse to participate in any recognition of it whatsoever. But it's up in the air at the moment. Indeed, seeing as its association in the Culture's mindset may vary greatly from now in a half decade or more hence, a wait-and-see attitude is the one I'll adopt in determining how I'll raise my future family as it concerns this particular holiday. 

Do you have very strong opinions on whether to or not to celebrate Easter? Feel free to share in a comment.

~ Rak Chazak

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