Thursday, May 17

Holidays: Good, Bad or Just Confusing?

Way back in January, I decided that one of my goals for the year would be to celebrate more. That decision has had a rather unexpected effect; I've started thinking a lot more about what we celebrate and why. (Not that I have gotten around to posting many of those thoughts here in timely fashion.) So, in the spirit of better late than never, I thought I'd share some interesting
thoughts on Easter.

I used to love to dress up for Easter, just like every little girl does. When I got a little older, I enjoyed going to a Sunrise Service Easter morning. I didn't really put much thought into the holiday until last year, though.

When I read The Liturgical Year (much more interesting than it's title suggests), I was amazed to find out that Easter - rather than Christmas - is the linchpin of the orthodox Christian calendar. Having been raised Protestant, I really had no frame of reference for Liturgy. (I have to tell you that after reading the book I almost wanted to be Catholic - the whole endless cycle thing seemed elegant and reverent in a uniquely beautiful way.)
So imagine my surprise, while mulling over the idea of Easter as being central, when I came across the assertion that Easter isn't actually a Christian holiday at all! I feel like I've heard that before somewhere, but it's one of those things you just tend to brush off as the mutterings of disgruntled atheists. The pastors presenting the idea this time around, however, had clear and logical points well backed up and compassionately presented. Perhaps most surprising was the suggestion that Good Friday and Easter Sunday aren't actually the days of Christ's death and resurrection at all.

There are lots of schools of thought on celebrating Christian holidays, from celebrating only what the disciples/ ancient church celebrated to celebrating everything with an intentional point-towards-God twist. I'm not interested in judging what other people choose to do, but I believe there's a lot of value in the debate and soul searching.

Do we dishonor God by celebrating made-up holidays with good intentions? Does it matter if the day is invented as long as we use it to glorify a real and worthy God? What does it say about us as a modern community of faith that we are so little acquainted with the roots of our practices? All valid questions worthy of our consideration.

While my answer will certainly not work for everyone, I have found that my standard practice continues to please me best of all the options I've seen: I celebrate what has meaning to me, and let the rest go. For me, that means that Easter gets relegated to the realm of un-celebrated days.

Instead, I celebrate smaller things. Things that come with no baggage or no fanfare, but that turn my eyes just as surely to the evidence of grace and reasons for thankfulness in my life.

What about you? Do you celebrate Easter? Does it's questionable provenance make any difference in your decision?

No comments:

Post a Comment