“The Two Christmases and the Two Easters,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
There has occurred and developed in the United States and many Western countries a parallel understanding and view of Christmas and Easter. Christmas has been co-opted by the commercial business sector with the object of making money. Christmas in its secular interpretation is concerned with children, laughing, and joyful exchange of gifts and a general atmosphere of love and happiness. This Christmas has been widely adopted by many faiths and many of the carols we hear have no connection with Christ. This general Christmas of good-will also involves Christmas trees and decorations and it is possible that these have pagan origins.
But there is a second Christmas, which is the real Christmas – this is celebrated by a thinner and thinner minority in our society. This minority concerns itself with the birth of Christ and God revealing himself in human form. It is a joy and wonder that God took on humanity and entered human history. The true meaning of Christmas is not the glitter and noise but the act of God in taking human form to bring about salvation and eternal life. The real purpose of Christmas and Christ is the repair of our broken natures, and, if you will, our sinful natures. The secular Christmas, we must recognize, has no truth and serves to mislead people from the true Christmas. The true Christmas is Christ offering to humanity new life and the conquest of death. The Christmas which is based on commerce and money certainly has little truth. Perhaps the reason the world does not recognize the Christian Christmas is because it does not recognize the problem and its solution in Christ. Christmas is God’s way of providing a way out from sin and death. It is certainly not the Christmas that has taken over our world.
I would also like to talk about the two Easters. The secular or commercial Easter has come to dominate the entire celebration and holiday. It involves sometimes the Easter bunny and sometimes an Easter egg-hunt. Once again, the festival has been co-opted by the business and commercial sector and that takeover is misleading to the real meaning of Easter and its significance. Easter completely and solely is concerned with the risen Christ and his conquest of death. It certainly has nothing to do with the things I just mentioned. Easter is the resurrection and the offer by Christ to share in his eternal life and love. In fact, it has come to the point when both in the commercial Christmas and commercial Easter, Jesus is left out of the picture. I have to say that I am in somewhat disagreement with these business takeovers of what are essentially religious festivals and events. A child which comes to think of Christmas as trees, decorations, and gifts is being misled and misinformed. The Easter bunny has little connection with the offer of eternal life and love in the risen Christ. I have no objection to these secular interpretations of these events, but I for one do not choose to agree with them or be convinced by them. I do not think the government or secular society is obligated to observe these religious festivals but it is my position that the true nature of these events should be made clear. In short, the commercial interpretation of these religious festivals is a lie.