Saturday, March 01, 2008

Newsletter: Waiting for Easter

In 2008, Easter falls on March 23rd. The holiday is coming earlier this year causing candy retailers much consternation. The National Confectioners Association expects a 6% drop in Easter sales due to the early date. Apparently folks will still be enjoying Valentines candy instead of marshmallow peeps this year. Thankfully for those Willy Wonkas, early Easters don’t happen too often. The next time Easter will fall on March 23rd will be in 2160.
The dates for Easter vary from year to year. This variety causes some consternation, but it’s better than in the early days of the Church. Back then different congregations would celebrate Easter at different times. In fact, some congregations even celebrated Easter on a weekday. To promote Christian unity, the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 standardized the date to the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. Despite the attempt to have one date, the Eastern Orthodox Church calculates the date for Easter a bit differently. They will have plenty of time to buy candy since they will be celebrating on April 27.
If you are like me, all this talk of calendars and dates is a bit confusing. To celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ doesn’t require waiting for an annual date on the calendar. In fact, Christians celebrate Jesus’ victory over death every week. Very early, Christians replaced the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday, with the Lord’s Day, Sunday. Rather than waiting for a holy day, Christ redeemed all of time. Instead of waiting for the right moment, God will love us now. Chocolate bunnies cannot compare to the sweetness of God’s grace.