I read the following headline today:
In full disclosure, I did not bother reading the article. I let my mind do what it does best: draw conclusions solely based on my own observations. A tried and true Science.
So, why do Christian’s seem to place Christmas on a pedestal and Easter as just another time to get together with family to watch young children fall over themselves in grass as they search for eggs full of candy? I think I have an idea.
Easter itself has a buildup. In February, we are ushered into Lenten season. This is, I believe, where we miss equating the significance of Christmas with Easter. For many, Lenten season is a time to give up a “bad habit.” It could be technology, the bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, an affinity for television or, really, any number of things that have a hold on someone’s life.
Then, when the eggs are laid out and children are squealing, we are found watching television on our phones, eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Like clockwork, we thank ourselves for the valiant sacrifices we have made by returning to the habit that eventually became “bad.” The acknowledgment to dig into why we have those habits, or fine tuning ourselves to learn discipline, is lost. However, for another majority, Lenten season is our teacher. It is our 40 days and 40 nights into and unto the wilderness of self.
During Christmas, we are asked to do none of the above. We are simply asked to celebrate and receive the gift that is baby Jesus. A Jesus that is new, sermon-less and pre-parable. And, somehow, Christians have laid claim that this is “our” holiday. When there is no inner or outer work, or a call to Become, it’s an easy task to find celebration, right?
If there is anything I have learned along my own spiritual journey, it’s that I do not grow without self-discovery alongside the Spirit. There’s even a saying that goes with this: “Consciousness precedes being.” To dive into that could take days, weeks, years — as even I am still on that journey to discovering its fullest meaning — but it implies that we cannot separate knowing self from knowing God, and to know both is to Become.
This practice is lost on far too many of us who claim to be Christians. I feel that’s why we are where we are today.
If we allow it to be, Lenten season all the way to Easter is a great time for our souls to find renewal. It is a time for us to work through the habits or resentment or prejudices we cling to and begin the process of dying to that part of ourselves. God had this modeled beautifully in the life of Jesus; though free of an inflated ego (or sin), he was fully human. His death represents everything that it means to give oneself wholly to the Spirit. Equally important, the resurrection reveals that death is neither permanent nor punishment.
Rather, we have the ability to walk out and shine like a million suns. This reflection is the celebration of Easter. See, both holidays involve celebration. One just expects something of us. My hope is we acknowledge that and respond. If we do, I think this world can look a whole shade brighter.