Christmas and Easter are the two key events in the Christian calendar. At Christmas, we celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God who became a human being and dwelt among us. At Easter, we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although we commemorate two events, the reality is that both of them are linked because Jesus was born to die and give us life through his resurrection from the dead. Christmas cannot be explained without Easter and vice versa.
It amazes me, therefore, how much emphasis Christians and our society place on Christmas compared to Easter. Weeks before Christmas there is already a “Christmas spirit” everywhere. Stores and malls are decorated and promote their “Christmas” sales, music stations make Christmas music the main part of their programming, and in our churches, our activities for several weeks also revolve around Christmas.
The celebration of Easter, on the other hand, is normally only reduced to one weekend at most since many evangelical churches only commemorate Resurrection Sunday. It is unfortunate that we currently emphasize Christmas and forget Easter as if they were two completely unrelated events.
In fact, throughout the history of the church, Easter has had great importance and today many traditions still grant it. Unfortunately, many evangelical denominations, including Baptists, have cast aside this tradition, perhaps because they want to distant themselves from the Roman Catholic tradition. However, as a saying states “we should not throw the baby out with the dirty water.” The Roman Catholic Church does not own Easter but it belongs to all Christians worldwide.
In the early church, Lent began to be observed as a spiritual preparation for Easter. The word Lent in Spanish is “Cuaresma” and it comes from forty and this in turn from the Latin “Quadragesima.” In the year 325 A.D. The Council of Nicaea officially recognized Lent as an essential part of the spiritual preparation for Easter.
Although many Christian traditions usually practice abstinence from something or fasting as part of Lent, it seems to me that the essential part that we must not forget is to make Lent a time of spiritual introspection and meditation. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the central foundations of our faith and we should not take them lightly. I am not advocating that Christians become ritualistic but rather to raise awareness and prepare ourselves spiritually to remember and celebrate Christ and his wonderful work for us. Christians do not have to do something to earn God’s favor but we celebrate that we already have received it by God’s grace. What do you and your church plan to do during Lent?
Nota: Puede encontrar la versión en español aquí: