Like most Americans, I grew up celebrating Easter with egg hunts and candy. Sure, we went to church on Sunday, but the big event was afterwards when we kids would run around the back yard finding our hidden treasures and filling our baskets.
Easter was Santa Claus without the snow.
But as I got older, an awareness began to emerge in me. Easter was more than that. It was more than Easter eggs. It was more than even Christmas, the biggest day of the year for us kids. Easter was not only the most significant day in the Christian calendar, it was at the very heart of, well, everything.
To us, the very manifestation of God had come to earth – fully man and fully God – and willingly sacrificed himself in a grueling, bloody torture that culminated in his death on a cross. It was the crucifixion.
I began to see that the eggs we collected were not just toys to keep us in chocolate. They were metaphors for rebirth. Spring is the season of new beginnings. His tragic and heroic death served as a sacrifice for billions, offering them a chance to renew their own spirits in kind.
To Christians, Easter is not just a holiday. It is the reason for being. It is everything. It is the holiest of holy days.
I see that now.