By Andrea Wright, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
The naming of the celebration “Easter” goes back to the name of a pre-Christian goddess in England named Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility (Britannica). Springtime is life renewed. The plants and trees that have been dormant from winter come alive, and the birth of animals represent rebirth and promise. The Easter story tells of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This extraordinary miracle has led to many important dates leading up to Easter Sunday. The Lenten season is the reconciliation with God. Easter arrives at the end of Holy Week and right after Good Friday. In preparation for Lent, Easter begins on Ash Wednesday and is observed for forty days. Many Christian traditions observe Lent through fasting. Palm Sunday is celebrated with processions where blessed palm leaves are handed out recalling the event of Jesus entering Jerusalem. The people greeted Jesus by waving palm branches shouting joyfully, “Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest” (Matthew 21:9). Holy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper with Jesus. It is the last meal that Jesus shared with his apostles before His crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as “Holy Communion.” Good Friday is also a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and Jesus’ burial.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus was resurrected three days after the date of his burial. This took place on a Friday afternoon, Good Friday, after he was crucified by the Roman cavalry around 30 A.D. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus was buried and saw that the stone had been removed from the grave. Jesus had fulfilled prophesy and had risen from the dead!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
The Easter holiday celebrated across the world for many years is considered the most important religious occasion among Christians. Easter Sunday is the Highest Holy Day in Christianity. It is also known as Resurrection Sunday. It marks the anniversary of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven, and it serves as confirmation of our faith. His resurrection means the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in him.
Followers of Christianity often celebrate with various traditions like church services, songs and hymns, lighting candles, and family gatherings. The Easter lily is another symbol of the season and is placed throughout churches. As mentioned in the Bible, the white lily symbolizes the purity of Christ, rebirth, new beginnings, and hope. While at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, during Easter it’s the celebration of His resurrection and how Christ died to save humankind from sin.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
The sacrifice of Jesus is a reminder of the His selfless love and time for us to express our gratitude. This is a reminder of welcoming Jesus into our hearts. It’s also the best time for families to reflect on the beautiful message and faith we have in Christ. In the spirit of the Easter season, let us look to the rising sun to reflect on the sacrifices that we may have with the confidence of new beginnings. We must remember to be kind, understanding, and caring to one another.
As a result, the Easter holiday has developed a range of modern traditions. The decorated eggs have been a symbol of fertility. The Easter bunny tradition, however, came from the Germans much like Santa Claus, and baby bunnies and chicks are a symbol of new life. On Easter Sunday, the celebration of new life begins. Eastertime means spring is just around the corner, and the growing season is about to start. Springtime reminds us that after winter there will be leaves, buds, flowers, and new life.
We must thank our farmers and ranchers for the ham or lamb dinner, our egg farmers for the eggs we decorate, the farmers who grow the lilies. Eastertime is a time to be thankful.
Happy Easter! He is Risen!