by Pete Schrank
Easter is far and away the most important Christian Holy Day (Holiday). However we seem to make so much more of the Christmas Season than Easter Season. I know the liturgical season of Lent is about remembering our sin and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so we are reflective and repentant during this time. Advent is about the birth of a baby that will save the world, and everyone celebrates the birth of babies like no other event in our life. However, in my opinion after the resurrection we need more celebration of our salvation. Christmas has the 12 days of Christmas from the birth to our Lord’s Epiphany. We use Advent calendars with a small piece of chocolate for each day that my grandchildren love to open. We have lights, candy canes, and carols, and gifts for the baby Jesus like gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But what can we say about our Easter celebration?
As Pastor tells us, the 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays. Those days are still a day to celebrate God’s grace and mercy given to us through Christ’s death and resurrection. The liturgical season that starts after Easter is sometimes call “Eastertide”, and covers the six weeks after Easter. The first Sunday after Easter also has a special name, the strange sounding Quasimodogeniti Sunday. The origin of this comes from the opening words of the Latin introit for that day, quasimodo geniti infants, “as new-born babies”. This is a reference to 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”. The Easter season is the season of salvation, that salvation made possible by the beating, humiliation, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Another name for the Sunday after Easter is the Octave of Easter. The Octave of a feast refers to an eight-day festal period commencing with that feast (Easter). So our joyous celebration of Easter needs to last eight days. This may not be as long as the 12 days of Christmas but we are getting there. The rest of the Sundays of Easter are just listed the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and the 6th Sunday of Easter. Then we celebrate the Ascension of Christ as He returns to Heaven and awaits the end of the age. In the Latin Church there are numerous saints and Bible stories that are emphasized in these 6 weeks and they even have special Latin names, but in the LCMS congregation we focus on the prescribed lectionary lesson.
Perhaps the pain, sorrow, sin, and death that is washed away by the cross is too somber to bring forth celebration, even after the victory of Jesus on Easter. We know the cost that was paid by our Lord, so rather than celebration, we think of giving thanks and not of giving gifts. Remember the resurrection is the foundation of our salvation, the good news of the Gospel. Although Christmas gets all the accolades and warm fuzzy feelings, we remember Christ has arisen indeed.