If a survey question asked, “What is your favorite holiday?”, I suspect that Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving would hold first place for Americans. If you placed Christmas at the top of your list, you’d probably be in a strong majority. Afterall, it overflows with tradition, cultural relevance, and childhood memories.
You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about Christmas when its Easter. Here’s my reason. That favored cultural holiday has no meaning without Easter. Yes, we celebrate the birth of Christ. But why? For those of us living 2,000 years later, the incarnation of God is meaningless without Easter. We didn’t have a chance to walk with him, to hear his teaching, to see his miracles. If there had been no higher purpose, what would it benefit 21st century people?
But from the birth of the infant king born in Bethlehem, there was a higher purpose. He came for a reason. God took on flesh with all of the ramifications that holds. He hungered, thirsted, felt pain, grieved, and was tempted. Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem was the beginning of His journey to the cross. One magi presented the gift of myrrh, the bitter spice used in death for embalming, proof that the plan was already in place.
That sounds like a sad story—to be born for the purpose of death. If the story had stopped there, it wouldn’t hold much celebration. Even Christmas would be a somber occasion. But it doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end in a lowly stable in Bethlehem or on a painful hill called Golgotha. It doesn’t end with death, but with life.
The incarnation of Christ was for the redemption of man. It was packed full of love and power. A gift greater than any of us have given or received at Christmas. The resurrection of Christ, His power over the grave, is reason to celebrate.
This Easter, may you rejoice in an empty tomb, a resurrected Savior, and know the joy of new life in Christ.