by Eric D. Huntsman
“There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Dec. 2000, 2).
I am convinced that if it were not for commercial and cultural factors, Easter would be more important to us than Christmas. As President Hinckley noted in the quote above, Christmas is only significant because of the miracle of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and his glorious resurrection.
The term “Easter” only appears once in the King James Bible, at Acts 12:4, where it is better translated as “Passover.” In fact, the scriptures nowhere enjoin us to celebrate the birth, death, or resurrection of Jesus as holidays per se, although we are commanded to remember him through ordinances and in our own testimonies. In that sense the days on which we remember and celebrate Christmas and Easter are not as important as the events themselves. Indeed, for Christians every day should be Christmas. Likewise, we remember and honor the suffering and death of Jesus every week with the sacrament, and the fact that we celebrate the Sabbath on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, means that for us every Sunday is Easter!
With Palm Sunday and the week before Easter, much of the Christian world enters into a period of reflection and celebration known as “Holy Week.” Each of the events chronicled in this last week casts light on Jesus’ true nature as the Son of God, and reviewing them deepens the faith of believers in his matchless love. While the LDS community does not formally observe Holy Week, the period from Palm Sunday to Easter morning present a wonderful opportunity for believers to use the scriptures to reflect upon the last days of our Lord’s earthly ministry.
In the bustle of day-to-day life, it is useful to employ holidays to refocus our attention and our thoughts and, most of all, celebrate together and with friends of other faiths the events we all value. For some years now, my family and I have benefited spiritually by using the gospel accounts of the Savior’s last week as the focus of our family and personal scripture study. It is a great way to truly celebrate Easter!
This post is excerpted from Dr. Huntsman’s blog, http://huntsmanseasonal.blogspot.com/p/preparing-for-easter.html.