Why Do We Celebrate Easter?

John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Beautiful verse isn’t it. As we’re all familiar in scripture, Jesus dies on a cross for the sins of mankind and rises on the third day. The yearly celebration many Christians observe in remembrance of that moment is called Easter. But why do we celebrate Easter?

Mixed feelings

I have mixed feelings about Easter weekend. On the one hand, it’s very nice that a lot of spotlight is getting put on Jesus and Christianity during this time of year.  A person who has yet to believe might see all this attention on Christ and be inspired to choose to believe perhaps. Or maybe a person who has never heard about Christ will hear about Christ for the first time. Many people who might already be Christians may re-dedicate themselves to faith if they’ve been not as dedicated to it recently. Those are all wonderful things. But personally, I don’t really celebrate Easter.

I know that might come as a shock to some, but I hope you’ll hear out the rest of my post. Unlike a lot of my other posts, I’m actually not going to be trying to convince you of my conclusion. Just sharing my thoughts. With all that said, we all believe in obeying God according to His Word. We all want to be followers of Jesus through His teachings that he passed down through the Apostles. So why do we celebrate a holiday that God never told us to celebrate? This question isn’t intended to be combative, it’s a genuine thought that I’m posing and one that I’ve pondered in the past.

Not all Christians celebrate Easter

You might be surprised to find that not all self-identified Christians celebrate Easter. As expressed in page 89 of the book, Puritans at Play: Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England, “Other Protestant groups took a different attitude, with most Anabaptists, Quakers, Congregationalists and Presbyterian Puritans regarding such festivals as an abomination.” The festivals being referenced are the celebrations of Good Friday, Easter, and holy week in general that most major protestant groups still observe.

In the book The True Origin of Easter, it expresses, “Groups such as the Restored Church of God reject the celebration of Easter, seeing it as originating in a pagan spring festival taken over by the “Roman” Catholic Church.” Now with regards to Easter being of Pagan origin, admittedly from all the information I’ve searched, I’ve seen sides that contest the truth of that, so I’m not sure. But I don’t consider that the main basis of why I don’t really celebrate Easter. My choice not to celebrate is based on wanting to live for God according to His Word more than anything else.

If Jesus said in scripture, “I want all Christians to remember my resurrection once a year”, I would do it. If Apostle Peter or Paul instructed it in their letters, I would be celebrating Easter as much as the next Christian. But because I don’t see those things instructed, it just feels kind of weird to me to participate in this yearly ritual. I am however always thankful for Christ’s resurrection, which perhaps we can be everyday of the year.

Conclusion

I’m not trying to convince anyone who does celebrate Easter to stop. While some Christians groups may view celebration of Easter as a sin, for myself in my own scriptural knowledge, I’m not quite sure I could teach the same to someone else. I could certainly show you many verses where God seems to want us to stick to specifically what His Word states in our religious beliefs and practices, as I went into detail about in my post, “Does Scripture Reject Eisegesis?“. Whether you think that point goes as far as not celebrating something the Word of God never told you to celebrate in Easter, everyone has to make their own conclusions on that. The only thing I’m intending with this post is to throw out some alternative thoughts and ideas.

No matter if someone does or doesn’t celebrate Easter, perhaps we can all agree to what Romans 14:5-6 states. “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.”

Peace to all those who are in Christ.

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20 thoughts on “Why Do We Celebrate Easter?

  1. I agree with you. It tells us in scripture to keep the Sabbath Holy, that is every Sabbath. Many Christians keep Easter Holy and disregard the Sabbath as another day of the week apart from going to Church. Your blog is challenging but true. Bless You.

  2. Interesting… I never thought of NOT celebrating Easter! I suppose there are some things we do because we were brought up that way, tradition, etc. but when you’re old enough you need to make these decisions for yourself.

    To me, NOT celebrating Easter would feel like not agreeing with what it stands for. Sure, we should be happy every day that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but how wonderful to take this specific time to focus on it. I’m going to admit, I don’t wake up every day thinking, “Thank you for dying on the cross for me!” Just like other special days/birthdays/anniversaries where the people being celebrated are always important but it’s nice to remember… except that the resurrection means so much more to Christians.

    I DO, however, take issue with how commercialized the holiday has become… but the same can be said of Christmas (and just about every holiday). I do special things for my family because I enjoy the excuse, but we make a point to focus on others, not spend a lot of money, and tell them the meaning behind the holiday(s).

    • Hi Karla. Thank you for your comment. That’s one of the things I find really fascinating about our modern Christian culture. The traditions that we all grow up with that we sometimes never really question how much they’re based in scripture. But it’s an amazing thing when we do start asking questions and coming to our own conclusions of how we believe and practice our faith. For myself, it’s definitely given me a greater connection with God.

      But yeah, I can understand the deep attachment people have in Easter. Churches that I’ve ever gone tend to seem to put together very passionate services on that day. I do think it’s quite inspiring to see the majority of Christian culture, whether it’s on social media or in images around the world all proclaiming their faith in Christ. It would be wonderful to see that kind of unity be exhibited within the church more than just one or two times of the year. Hopefully that can be more of the case one day, but nice nonetheless that Christ is proclaimed.

      That’s true. Most people think of Easter egg hunts on Easter and Christmas trees on Christmas these days. But that’s wonderful you focus on God and you focus on your family on the days people are focusing on all the other stuff.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  3. Nicely put! I think the same thing applies to Christmas as well. Here’s where I’ve landed on this issue (and, like you, I’m not trying to convince anyone else to believe as I do): If you wish to celebrate Christmas or Easter, by all means do so, but do it with your eyes wide open, understanding that these are man-made observances that have no basis in the Bible. That having been said, it’s probably worth noting that in Jewish tradition, the date of a person’s death is held in greater reverence than the date of a person’s birth, and to this day many Jews commemorate the anniversary of their loved ones deaths.

    • Hi John. Thanks for the comment! And yes, I come to the same conclusion about Christmas as well. I wrote a post about it years ago, though I was a little bit more harsh in my tone about it than I probably would be today. But I do think it’s important for people to ponder these issues of these holidays not being instructed in scripture. Interesting thing you mention about that Jewish tradition. I saw in some of my searches sources that noted the celebration of martyrs as being a common custom. Perhaps that’s how things eventually began about with commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  4. Very thought provoking. My family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas in the commercialized way ( it tends to sneak up on us before we realize it is here), we have a tree because I like a tree, in fact I still have mine up right now for two reasons: 1) It is a light source coming from that area of the room) and 2) it has a special meaning to me…. reminds me of when I lived in the mountains of Upstate NY at a Bible School that was located in the woods in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and back then we had tons of snow (the snow levels have shrunk since I left, no kidding! Every time I call up there during the winter they have a snow storm and I went for a visit this Fall and they got a lot more snow than usual! 😀 ). I loved seeing the snow on the pine trees and taking long hikes in the woods in very deep snow. We don’t give gifts, neither of our families get together with us – husband’s brothers go to their wives family’s houses, my sons have moved and live far away, we do often get together with friends for dinner and if not then we just fix dinner for us and kick back. When I was a child I use to watch all the religious movies that actually came on TV back then: The Greatest Story ever told, Ten Commandments, the Robe, Ben Hur. etc (it was usually just me) and that is something I still do most of the time, it is my own tradition of sorts, it always made me feel closer to God. We’ve tried to participate in helping feed the homeless but were told that many of the usual groups either don’t do it anymore because there are so many Churches in our area taking care of the homeless during the holidays that they had such a small turn out or they have down scaled and you have to sign up months and months ahead of time to help out.

    As for Easter, I don’t like that name because it is the name of a fertility goddess and yes, just like Christmas, Easter was christianized by Constantine when he made Christianity the State Church (because his mother became a Christian) even though he was still a practicing pagan. We celebrate this holiday the same as Christmas. This year I have been watching a different Gospel movie each day and other Christian movies, I feel closer to God and learn a lot at the same time.

    Our church is a very small and growing church and are in our first building. We have a Street team that goes out every Wednesday evening to a nearby shopping center to gather prayer requests from people that we talk to and then go back to the church and pray over them. Being new to the area there we had a Friday evening service which was open to the neighborhoods around us in which Matthew 26:1 – 27:65 was read aloud. A few came. Saturday night we will have our regular Christian Coffeehouse Christian Concert with live music and Sunday we will have our regular Sunday service which will be about the Resurrection then some of us will gather at someone’s house for dinner and fellowship. My husband goes to speak at a Nursing facility every Sunday in the late afternoon and will do so this Sunday, too.

    To me it’s not a traditional way of celebrating the Holy Week, it is more personal.

    • Hi Mersea. Thank you for your comment. Sounds like you have a lot of nice memories from past holiday seasons. I think it’s good that people can end up focusing more on God during these time periods. Hopefully one can take whatever increased focus they have during this time period and try to have it as much as possible throughout the whole year. And it’s admirable that you’ve made efforts to give to the needy during these time periods as well,along with your husband speaking at the nursing facility. Yes, I’ve read different sources that bring up that point about Easter. Quite ironic to think Christians sort of have pagans to thank for these holidays. It sounds like your local assembly are doing a lot of good fellowshipping this weekend, which that’s always good. I suppose one can possibly argue these holidays can be a net positive in spite of the lack of scriptural foundation for them. But I hope with whoever acknowledges these days, that they’re focusing more on God, doing more for God, and then trying to make this increased thought and action for God be consistent throughout the year.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  5. Good point. I suppose mourn death, celebrate resurrection (life), and like some funerals are very solemn others prefer a ‘jolly’ send off. And above all else remember that Jesus died for our sins and never forget that. Alas many people nowadays don’t even know who Jesus is. Very sad. Good post.

  6. In the Church of Christ – Easter is just the Lord’s day. Every Sunday is the Lord’s day and we do not emphasize Easter as a special day. We should attend church every Sunday. The more each of us read our Bible – the more we understand the instructions God wants us to follow.

    • Hi Peggy. Thank you for your comment. I share in your sentiment as well that assembling with the body of Christ should be of importance all the time as you express. Indeed, we’ll always continue to understand more as we continually read.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  7. Hi, this post was interesting and I have heard others voice this opinion. I grew up with the tradition of Easter and Christmas with all the commercialism, but was always more of aware of the Christian reasons why we were celebrating them. This is where I would disagree with you on one point: that these celebrations have no foundation in scripture. God tells us not to neglect the assembling of ourselves together and He tells us to Rejoice in Him always! So I think that any occasion that brings us together to do these things is in Christ. That doesn’t mean this just has to be Easter or Christmas, I firmly believe in doing so year round. However, I think it would be a serious misstep for any Christian to miss the importance of what happened in the resurrection and I’m almost certain that you cannot be one if Christ’s resurrection doesn’t cause you profound joy that you desire to celebrate it all the time. This includes sharing it with others and living with God’s joy inside of you. You don’t have to celebrate either holiday if you don’t want to but, as Christians we should celebrate all that God has done for us when we didn’t deserve it!

    • Hi littlemissbearpaw. Thank you for your comment. I agree with you on always appreciating the resurrection and life of Christ in general. I merely just don’t believe in celebrating specifically the holidays that men created since I don’t find specific instruction of such in scripture. I respect if others choose to participate in attaching Christ to the holidays of Easter and Christmas and choose to feel an extra special desire to celebrate Him on those days. I just choose not to, but still having gratitude for Christ as I try to cognitively do everyday.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

  8. My husband and I always celebrated all the holidays, except Halloween, which we went back and forth on for several years. Then, five or six years ago, the Lord Jesus began to talk with me about these holidays, and their roots, but mostly about how they are celebrated today, and about who really gets people’s (especially children’s) attention on Easter and Christmas, in particular. Jesus is presented as a helpless baby at Christmas, while Santa (Satan) is presented as all seeing, all knowing, and present everywhere (he delivers presents throughout the world in a single night), so he is a false god of one who wanted to be God. Satan, via Santa, is pretending to be God in order to steal the hearts of children away from Jesus. And, on Easter it is the Easter bunny and Easter baskets and new clothes and shoes that are largely the focus of attention.

    I learned that Jesus only requested one way that we specifically remember him and that is in the taking of communion, but not merely as a ritual, but in true remembrance of him and of his sacrifice for our sins, for in this time of partaking in the body and the blood, not only do we remember him, but it is a time of solemn prayer in which we ask the Lord to examine our hearts and to make sure there is nothing in our lives hindering our walks of faith, so we don’t take communion in an unworthy manner, but more importantly so that we are walking in holiness and purity and in obedience to him and to his ways. Yet, Jesus doesn’t need a special day to be celebrated, especially if we celebrate him along with false gods. This is what his children of old did, and he chided them for combining the worship of him with the worship of false gods or with pagan revelry. Jesus is upstaged by these false gods in the hearts of young minds who look at these holidays as “What’s in it for me?” “What do I get?”

    My husband and I prayed about this, and we did some research before we both finally came to the conclusion to stop celebrating these holidays. We have four (plus four) children and 13 grandchildren, so this was not an easy decision, because our decision not only affected our lives, but theirs, too. Yet, it was the right thing to do, and I have not regretted that decision. Yet, because these are so traditionally celebrated, there is a lot of religious sentiment that goes along with these holidays to the point to where, if you don’t celebrate, other Christians think you are not Christian, and it may cost you friendships and even Christian fellowship with those who disagree. That has been our experience, so it takes commitment and a strong faith to go against the flow and to do what conscience and the Holy Spirit has dictated – well, I speak for myself here. Sue

    P.S. We should all celebrate Jesus every day, and to do so by honoring him with our lives.

    • Thank you for being so open in sharing you and your husband’s personal experience in making the decision to stop celebrating these holidays, Sue. I hope others who see your comment will be inspired by you and your husband’s choice to consider doing the same thing. It’s certainly quite a challenge to go against popular beliefs within society, but I think it’s worth it in the end as we connect deeper with God in following His Word, and of course our eventual eternity with Him. May we all be appreciative the life and sacrifice of Christ everyday, and continue to fight the good fight of faith.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

      • Glory to God! Amen! I agree. Yes, it is a challenge indeed to go against popular beliefs within society, and absolutely it is worth it in the end, and for the reasons you shared. Thank you! Sue

  9. I’m so glad you’re sharing your thoughts on this and that in your heart you want to be obedient to the Word of God and not necessarily to what most Christians are doing today. This was the first year that I and some of my family members did not celebrate Easter. Yes, we did it before all in the name of Christianity and we were pretty good about leaving out the eggs and bunnies, but we used “Easter” and “Resurrection Day” interchangeably.

    It is absolutely true that Easter is a pagan holiday reformed by the Roman Catholic Church. Knowing this now and understanding that according to Scripture, our Savior died during Passover and rose three days later has taken away all excuses for me to continue to celebrate Good Friday or Resurrection Sunday, which are only two days apart.

    All praise to our God, whose Word is truth and freedom!

    • Hi Autumn. Thank you for your comment. I commend you and the few of your family members for taking a stand in choosing to not celebrate those holidays. I hope it can be the case more Christians will live their faith according to the Word, and not according to traditions of men. Indeed, all praise to God whose Word is truth and freedom.

      Peace to you in Christ. 🙂

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