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Old 24-03-2005, 01:22 PM
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The Meaning Of Easter

THERE has been so much say about the real meaning of Easter over the years, since it’s celebration became known and practised worldwide.
While there have been open criticisms and disagreements surrounding the liturgical celebration of Easter itself by Christians worldwide, some may have unconsciously kept the tradition alive through making of Easter bunnies or colored eggs.

Perhaps this was one way of reminding us, even if it this concept didn’t mean anything to the person involved that time. But what is the real meaning of Easter??

One Writer writes:

Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year

Easter is rabbits and colored eggs and fancy dresses, but to Christians around the world it is much, much more.

Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year.

Easter is the day Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection, as described in the Bible, means that just as Jesus rose from the grave, Christians also can receive new life after death. The Easter holiday celebrates this belief.
Easter is the center of an entire season of the Christian year.

The season begins with Lent, a 40-day period before Easter Sunday. During Lent, Christians prepare for Easter. Lent is considered a time for penance, a time to show sorrow for sins and to seek forgiveness. One way many Christians show their sorrow is by fasting, which limits the kinds and amounts of food that are eaten. While not all Christians fast during Lent, those that do pattern their behavior after Jesus who prayed and fasted in the wilderness before his death on the cross.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and most churches hold specials services in the evening. At many of those services ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers to remind them to have a humble spirit. Lent continues until Holy Week, which is the final week of Lent and recalls the events leading to Jesus' death and resurrection. The Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, which celebrates the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, where people spread palm branches and clothing before him.

Good Friday is the day Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. Many churches hold services from noon until 3 p.m. to symbolize the last three hours of darkness while Jesus suffered on the cross. While Jesus died on the cross and was buried, he rose from the dead, and that is what Easter is all about.

On Easter Sunday Jesus' resurrection is celebrated. According to the Bible, Jesus' friends arrived at grave to find the stone moved and an angel standing nearby saying that Jesus' body was no longer in the grave that he had been raised from the dead. In many churches outdoor Easter services take place at sunrise to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the dead Christians believe they will rise from the dead into heaven after their death on earth.

Easter is also closely associated with spring. The new plant life that appears in spring symbolizes the new life Christians gain because of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Easter is also considered a day of "white" because newly baptized church members wore white clothes at Easter observances.

Another one writes:

To the world it means that the perfect plan of salvation has been provided . . .
  • "I declare unto you the gospel . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
  • "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
    To God it means that He is satisfied with the work of His Son . . .
  • "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the spirit." 1 Peter 3:18
  • To the believer it is the promise of everlasting life . . .
    Jesus promises, "Because I live, you shall live also." John 14:19 "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24
  • To you it is a challenge to believe . . .
    Jesus claims, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." John 11:25
    "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9

You can know the true meaning of Easter in your life today by taking these steps:
1.Recognize that without Christ you are separated from God. In honest repentance admit your need to be saved: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
2.Realize that God loves you, and believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
3.Receive the risen Christ into your life by faith, and trust Him as your Savior: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).

Still another one wrote:

The Real Meaning of Easter

I’m not sure which is sadder—that St. Nicholas has become Santa Claus or that the Easter bunny has, for many people, taken over the holy day of Easter.
Years ago a friend’s younger sister used to do a little comic routine about how rabbits don’t have eggs. So he must steal them. (Actually I think taking eggs from a hen is stealing considering the great maternal qualities of animals!) This fuzzy friend also provides kids with overly-sugared junk food. The stores, the card companies and television all strive, no doubt unknowingly, to change the Church’s greatest Feast into something with meaning the size of a jelly bean.
Easter is the Resurrection of Jesus! He has risen from the tomb—as He said He would. Sin and death are conquered. He has risen. Alleluia!!!
We should turn to Our Lady to ask her to give us the true understanding, the true spirit of Easter Sunday. We should strive to share in her joy on that first Easter Morning. How she must have rejoiced. After living through the terrors of Good Friday and the sorrows of Holy Saturday—her Son and Lord had risen!
We have lived through the precious penitential season of Lent. We have suffered compassionately with Jesus and Mary during Holy Week. Now we gather at the empty tomb. We ponder the words of the Angel. We rejoice with St. Peter, St. John and St. Mary Magdalene. We look with awe at the linen left in the tomb. We see the stone rolled away. (I often think of the great faith of St. Mary Magdalene asking who will roll the stone away. She had no doubt someone would do it for her.) On Easter we rejoice—the Lord has risen and with Him so has the new life of Spring—crocuses, daffodils, trees bud forth, baby lambs frisk about and newly-hatched chicks greet the world.
The time of sorrow is over. Lent’s forty days have passed, the fifty days of the Easter Season has begun! Years ago Easter laughter was a custom. Priests would regale their people with funny stories. Let’s gather at home some evening during the Easter Season and tell funny stories, jokes and laugh together. Let us rejoice for Our Lord has Risen and one day—we, too shall pass through death (which has lost its sting) and rise to New Life! This is the true meaning of Easter Sunday and the glorious Season of Easter.
Let us pray to Our Lady that we keep a good Easter Season. (Why do people only speak of "keeping a good Lent?") We gave up things for Lent—what joys shall we "add on" for the Easter Season—fresh fruit, a nice walk or an afternoon nap? Ask Mary about this.
With the secularization of Easter (now a holiday that last only one day) we need help to maintain its true meaning throughout its fifty days.) For this help let’s turn to Mary Our Mother.

Recently a Religion Correspondent by the name of Jonathan Petre on 23/03/2005 wrote about how the meaning of Easter was lost on British adults.

Meaning of Easter lost on British adults

Less than half of Britons know why Christians celebrate Easter, according to new research. Only 48 per cent of adults questioned for a survey were aware that the festival marks the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

About 40 per cent were able to name Judas Iscariot as the man who betrayed Jesus, while a quarter recognised the name of Dr Rowan Williams as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and only eight per cent knew that Karol Wojtyla is Pope John Paul II.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, said the findings were disappointing.

The poll, commissioned by Reader's Digest, showed that 64 per cent believe in God and 58 per cent in an afterlife.


May you all have a blessed EASTER!!
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