What Does Easter Mean to You?
Is it new clothes? Does it mean Spring has begun? Maybe it means bunnies and eggs. Maybe it means gathering with family and friends.
What does the word Easter mean to you? Over the years I have always been intrigued and interested in the use of the word Easter. What does it really mean? It does not occur anywhere in the Bible. And yet for centuries Christians have used the word to describe the annual celebration of Jesus' Resurrection.
Easter may have come from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eastre or Estera. Centuries ago in Europe the coming of spring was celebrated by offering sacrifices of one kind or another. Or the word may have come from the German word ost (“east”) the direction from which the sun rises. This may explain the practice of some Christians who would rise early to greet the day in commemoration of those who went to the tomb as described in Matthew 28:1, “as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.”
Easter has been described as the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus. Many Christians in the early church (the first 100-200 years) celebrated Jesus‘ Resurrection every Sunday. But then in 325 A.D. the church leadership after gathering together in the Council of Nicaea formally designated the first Sunday after the full moon following the first day of spring for the annual celebration.
“Many of the customs associated with non-Christian celebrations of Easter are derived from various spring fertility rites of the pagan religions. These customs have been replaced by Christian meanings. Eggs were a primitive symbol of fertility; and some Christians saw in them a symbol of the tomb from which Christ rose, and continued the practice of coloring, giving, and eating them on Easter. The Easter rabbit, legendary producer of Easter eggs was a symbol of fertility and new life. The practice of wearing some new articles of clothing may be derived from the white garments of those newly baptized on Easter in the early church.”
The Collegiate Encyclopedia
I trust and pray that our annual celebration of Jesus‘ Resurrection will communicate and give testimony of our faith in the resurrected, living Lord Jesus Christ.
May our Anniversary celebration of Jesus‘ Resurrection bring us to a growing faith and a deeper trust in Him as we draw near to the Lord in Worship, Praise, Thanksgiving and Love!
Striving to Serve in Honesty & Humbleness!
— Pastor Perry DeGroot