Easter Sunday (and the entire Easter season) is the celebration of Christ's resurrection after His horrible death on the cross. The Resurrection is the culmination of all his preachings and works here on Earth - the ultimate triumph of life over death. So how come Christmas tide, the occasion of (what is believed to be) His birth anniversary, has a more jovial celebration than the former?
From my simple observations and experiences of Christmas, Easter, and other revelries, allow this humble lay man to list down the reasons why the Yuletide has a "warmer" and more joyful feeling than any other holiday of the year.
1. The symbol of family
Whom do you think of when we talk about Christmas? Santa Claus! Of course... And why not, especially if you are a kid? However, if your answer is your family, then we are on the same page. We all want to be with our families during the Holidays. The thing is, the obvious and magnified symbol of the Season is a FAMILY. As a matter fact, the Christmas story is all about a certain family: A mother who was in labor and about to give birth; a father who was looking for an inn so his wife could safely give birth; and a new born baby who was born in a stable and laid in a manger in the company of farm animals. It is a story of struggle, hope, and the triumph of family love.
While Easter's message is the triumph of life over death, the narrative of a family overcoming all obstacles through their love for each other and sheer determination is much closer and more touching to human nature. It pinches the heart of any mother who cares for her children; it surely hits home to any father who drives his passion just to provide for his family; it amazes any son or daughter who desires nothing but the love and company of their parents.
2. Beginnings are more exciting than endings
When you read a book or go to a theater to watch a movie, on which part do you get excited the most, the beginning or the ending? I bet you would agree that you feel the most excitement when you are about to watch the movie or about to begin reading that most sought after book.
A story often climaxes when the protagonist wins over the antagonist and defeats all his/her adversaries. The thing is, it also signifies that the story is about to end. Even if it is a happy ending, you cannot help but feel a bit sad because the story is almost over. The best you can do to get yourself excited all over again is to re-watch or re-read it. Better yet, you can look for another good movie or book, and start from the beginning.
This, I believe, is very much like Christmas. People get excited when they start a new narrative or adventure, and Christmas is the beginning of the greatest life story ever told. Beginnings are about hope, of getting to know new things, and of exploring fresh experiences. You always get excited with wide-eyed delight at the start of every story.
3. No pre-condition before the celebration
Human nature craves for happiness, and suffering is repulsive to any creature. The thing about Christmas is that it does not have a pre-condition of suffering before you get to celebrate the occasion. Even Advent, the liturgical season prior to Christmas Day, urges Christians to be in joyous anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Lord.
In the case of Easter, all Christians will have to undergo and commemorate the time when Jesus' fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Lent). Before celebrating the actual day of Christ's Resurrection, you have to encounter the days when He suffered and died a gruesome death - all of which were essential to our liberation and salvation.
Yet, humanity is not bereft of suffering. Human nature longs for relief and healing. While Easter demonstrates the ultimate victory of life and the defeat of death, the Christmas message brings the hope of life's beginning through the new born baby Jesus.
4. Year ender makes you want to remember
Coincidentally, Christmas Day demarcates the last 7 days of the year. How ironic that the day celebrating the beginning of Christ's life on Earth also marks the last week of the year.
Here is the thing, whatever religious affinity you are in, there is this feeling that year enders force people to reminisce, regret mistakes, and be grateful for the blessings received throughout the year. This is one affair you want to spend with your loved ones most especially, and it is incidental that the last universal celebration of the year is the Yuletide. Any celebration done in the company of your family is way more important than any colloquial party you are invited to attend.
Eventually, the baby will grow into adulthood. Our faith life will have to progress from the infancy of Christmas into the maturity of the Risen Christ.
May the Reason for the Season deliver you from annoying misery, and transform your life into a really inspiring story.
The Season of Grace c/o greglweaver / Unsplash
The Birth of Jesus c/o Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons