What is the biggest or most important the two great religious holidays Christmas and Easter (you can substitute Resurrection Day for Easter if you like)? Those who take a secular worldview very quickly say that Christmas is the biggest and most important. For most people Easter is just just another long weekend, another chance to get away for a few days.
Both are very important to Christians, but most Christians would agree with non-Christians that Christmas is the biggest holiday. It's the time of year when we gather with family and friends to sing carols, decorate the tree, and exchange gifts. Christmas is the climax of the whole year.
We Christians justify this by saying that at Christmas we celebrate the birth, of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Why is Christ’s birth so important? One reason is because of who He was: the divine Son of God. He was God in human form – fully man, but also fully God. Only Jesus could say, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Only Jesus could say, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
But Christ’s birth was also important because of what He did. He came to show us God – but more than that, He came to open the way to God. We are separated from God because of sin – but Jesus came to take away our sins. He did this by becoming the final and complete sacrifice for sin through His death on the cross.
Because we get so caught up in the way that the world celebrates Christmas,and they aren't all bad things, even Christians view Christmas as a bigger holiday than Easter.
Think about it, if Easter had not happened Christmas would just be another day. If the tomb is not empty, the baby in a manger means nothing. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then He really is just a Jewish rabbi with delusions of grandeur. If Easter never happened, then Christmas is only the story of an insignificant baby born in an out-of-the-way village 2000 years ago. Easter gives Christmas its meaning.
Let’s see if we can determine which event became was most important to the writers of the New Testament and early church. First of all there is no what the writers of the New Testament say about Christmas and Easter major doctrinal point is ever built upon the the virgin birth of Christ. Not one. It's true. It happened. But it's never discussed or mentioned. In fact, Mark and John, two of the gospels, don’t even mention it.
The resurrection, on the other hand, is everywhere in the New Testament. It’s in every gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) and it comes up again and again throughout the New Testament. Read Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36) He mentions the resurrection throughout it.
Acts 2:22-24, 3-33(NLT)22 “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. 32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.33 Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. (emphasis mine)
When the first Christians gathered, they didn't mention Bethlehem; they talked about the empty tomb. They never got over the fact that on Easter Sunday when they went to the tomb, Jesus was gone.
Romans 1:3-4 (NLT)3 The Good News is about his Son, Jesus. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line,4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:5-11 (NLT)5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1-9 (NLT)1 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it.2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve.6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.
1 Peter 1:3 (NLT)3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,
Revelation 1:18 (NLT)18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (emphasis mine)
I’ll ask again; “What’s the biggest holiday Christmas or Easter?
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.