Today is Easter Sunday which is pretty much my favorite day on the church calendar. Plenty of folks prefer Christmas. I am not one of those people.
Christmas to me is a pretty juvenile event both in the secular and the theological sense. Christmas at this point in our history is practically devoid of any religious significance in the popular culture. It is all about consumption and gratification. Who the hell needs any religious celebration that can bankrupt a business? There are plenty of businesses that depend on a big Christmas to survive through the year. Who the hell needs that?
Thank God the Easter Bunny never really caught like Santa. Easter still pretty much means something.
Christmas is about the birth of a baby and everybody loves babies. It's also about the slaughter of the Holy Innocents but I digress. It is about angels playing trumpets in the sky and wise men following a distant star. Pure treacle.
If Easter was a movie it would be PG with its adult themes of agony and betrayal. Not all of us have seen angels in the sky and most of us that have are given medicine. But all of us can relate to feelings of abandonment and isolation. All of us. And all of us, thank God, have experienced far more constancy and support than we deserve. Pretty much all of us have people at the foot of our crosses, people that never abandon us even if they are only there to take us down.
You don't get any of that kind 0f gravitas at Christmas.
But I like Easter. I find it reassuring to sit in church and be reminded that there is hope for a better day no matter how dark and bleak life seems to be. It's easy to lose sight of that sometimes. It's easy to become inward directed. And inward directed people are either egomaniacs or they are unable to get outside themselves to put their troubles in perspective. I can't recommend either approach to life.
The Easter summons encourages us to look up and out. For one day on the calendar victory remains in love and hope is the order of the day.