img="He is risen"

Why I Celebrate Resurrection Weekend and not Easter

Easter weekend has always been my favorite holiday. Yep, even as a kid it was a toss up between Christmas and Easter. I loved the new dress, Sunday dinner, and the songs that went with Easter. It probably didn’t hurt that it was right around my birthday as well.

As an adult, Easter was the one holiday our family made a priority of with specific traditions. Not every year, but most years, there was a Good Friday service with the main celebration on Sunday. A trip up the mountain to Camp Fircroft started the day with sunrise service at 7 am followed by breakfast. Then down the mountain back to church for Sunday School and church. After church, a potluck at a friend’s house usually lasted until around 5 at night. It made for a long day, but a joyful day.

However, somewhere along the line, I realized I wasn’t celebrating Easter. We were celebrating Resurrection Sunday. I think it started with the phrase, “He is risen!” and the response, “He is risen, indeed!” I realized there were no bunnies or Easter baskets in our celebrations. Occasionally, there were eggs, but for the most part, we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord.

A different focus

Easter seems to bring to mind eggs, bunnies, and chicks with pastel colors, but Resurrection Sunday focuses on the empty tomb–the joy of the apostles and women who had had their hopes dashed on Good Friday, and the victory over death that Christ brings.

img="sunrise service"Resurrection Sunday may have some of the same elements of Easter, but it focuses instead on the events that happened all those years ago. The symbols of the cross and the empty tomb come into sharp contrast.

A different feel

Easter is a day in time to spend with family and friends. It’s the dressing up, the candy, and the fun but it’s done and over with in one day. Resurrection Sunday is one day, but the feeling and the meaning behind it last throughout the day, the week, the month, and into those tough times that come along. I may not always remember the feeling of Resurrection Sunday, but the significance of that day resonates throughout my year.

img="Death of Jesus"
Eric, as Jesus, in The Passion Play. (the wording went with the ending slide show in He Made a Way Through a Manger)

The connection between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday tend to be stronger. Our hopes on Good Friday are dashed. Jesus is in the grave. The One who was to have saved the world, the Healer, Teacher, and Friend is gone. We feel the pain Peter felt as he wept bitterly. We understand Mary and John’s anguish as they stand at the foot of the cross. But then, Sunday! We burst out in song as we realize that all hope is not lost. Jesus rose again. He’s not dead! This is the joy that floods us and sustains us back to work on Monday. We know He’s alive and there with us.img="Resurrection Sunday choir"

So which do you celebrate? Why? Are you more into the bunnies and candy or the meaning behind the week?

What's your take?