Easter is here, and its arrival seems especially welcome this year.
In a season filled with political rancor, uncivil discourse and general unease about national and world events, it’s reassuring to know that Easter can be counted on to bring a measure of hope and serenity to our daily lives.
To many, Easter is simply an odd Sunday holiday — part religious and part secular — and somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
Aside from the commercial trappings of colored eggs, chocolate and jelly beans, some view it as chiefly a day for families with young children.
To others, Easter represents a holiday when church attendance is expected, even among those who rarely worship on a regular basis.
While Easter is seen by some as a secondary holiday, when compared to Thanksgiving and Christmas, that perception is both unfortunate and false.
Whereas Thanksgiving annually calls us to be mindful of our daily blessings, and Christmas serves to make us aware of the gifts we have to share with others, Easter holds a message of hope and renewal in a fallen and troubled world.
This underappreciated holiday isn’t just a random Sunday on a calendar. It represents an important starting point — the dividing line between winter and spring, between decay and new life, between darkness and light.
And though the Central Texas landscape is often a few weeks ahead of the calendar when it comes to the greening of fields and leafing of trees, Easter is still a defining date — serving as a harbinger of new life and carrying the promise of a fresh start.
The holiday provides a vivid, recurring reminder that life and light prevail each spring, no matter how dark and dreary the winter months have been — and that alone should give us renewed hope.
For Christians, Easter is the holiest of days and central to the faith, celebrating the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. And in liturgical denominations, Easter is the beginning of the church year — a new start, indeed.
And just as the arrival of spring brings with it the annual renewal of life, Easter fills believers with an anticipation of new spiritual life and growth — in this world and in the next.
The Easter story is the ultimate symbol of hope.
For more than 2,000 years, Jesus’ resurrection and triumph over death and the cross has offered countless generations of Christians the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life.
Perhaps no symbol more perfectly represents the arrival of Easter’s light than the candles worshipers hold during early-morning candlelight services around the world.
The light from dozens of small candles filling the pre-dawn darkness represents the Easter light of Jesus’ resurrection overcoming darkness and death.
Our world desperately needs the light, the hope and the renewal embodied in this special holiday.
We need the promise of new life, the opportunity for a fresh start — on so many levels.
This third Sunday in April is more than a brief pause in the maelstrom of life or a blip on the calendar. It’s a powerful reminder that no matter how dark and dire a situation may seem, hope always prevails.
And that’s a message we can all appreciate.