If you had asked me, “What’s your favorite holiday,” when I was younger I would have immediately told you “Christmas!” For me, Christmas was the pinnacle event of the year. For a kid, why wouldn’t it be? You’re out of school and you get presents! What more could you ask for? As I grew older, Christmas remained the “favorite holiday” for me but I developed more adult reasons for enjoying the holiday. Things like time with family, good conversation over meals, and the “togetherness” of Christmas became reasons that I looked forward to that time of year.
But, over the past couple of years the title of “favorite holiday” has shifted to a different time of year: Easter. While I still thoroughly enjoy the Christmas season, I find myself immensely excited and ready for Easter to roll around (no pun intended). In my opinion there is no period of the year more exciting, joy-filled, or filled with expectation than the Easter season. This season is simultaneously the darkest and most joyful time of year. We reflect on how horribly the Son of God was mistreated while at the same time rejoicing exceedingly because of what He accomplished on our behalf.
At Christmas, God sent His Son into our world. God put on human flesh and walked among us. But, at Easter, God takes our curse upon Himself and bears the full weight of our sin. Perfection substitutes Himself for imperfection. The Holy steps in to the take the punishment deserved by the profane. As Paul says, “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). And even greater than that, He conquers death and the grave by…spoiler alert…rising again on Easter Sunday.
In this season of Easter, the joys and expectations of Christmas are fully realized as the God Man, no longer the baby in the manger, fulfills the reason for which He came and gives up His life for those whom He loves. The gift that God gives humanity on Christmas is, quite literally, unwrapped on Easter Sunday.
And now, because of the events of this week, life is worth living and the rest of the year, even Christmas, becomes all the more sweet for those who are in Christ Jesus.