Or happy April Fools’ Day. Whichever you prefer. Yes, they share the day today. But for most, just as in this space, Easter gets top billing.
Rightly so. For many, Easter has deep meaning. Slightly less than one-third of the global population counts itself as Christian, so the Easter observance has great spiritual significance. But like many traditions steeped in religious beginnings, Easter is celebrated by those immersed in faith, the fence-sitters and the nonbelievers alike.
And most, in some way, are celebrating life. Or, more specifically, the renewal of life.
Today, millions of Christians will observe Easter Sunday by celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Easter is also connected to Passover, which will be observed by millions of Jews celebrating the release of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.
Whether your Easter involves attending church, monitoring little egg-gatherers, sharing a nice meal — or all these activities — it’s symbolic of the renewal of life.
Here in the Midwest, even the time of year is symbolic of renewal as winter — some years more grudgingly than others — gives way to spring. It is a glorious and beautiful transformation. It is the ultimate renewal in nature. It is automatic.
For us humans, renewal can require hard work, sacrifice, dedication and perseverance. Those things may not come easy for a lot of people. But the rewards can be immeasurable.
There are countless ways to renew yourself or help others along that path. If you are subject to self-destructive, or even simply unproductive behaviors, Easter can be a time for introspection — hopefully with a shot at renewal.
You may want to consider Easter as a respite from the all-too-often antagonistic society we have found ourselves in. Have political parties or modern technology made us any nicer to each other? Don’t look to social media for the answer. Even the most innocuous and well-meaning “social” posts can soon devolve into a primal game of one-upmanship and name-calling.
Like most holidays, the momentum of Easter commercialism is unrelenting. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2015 Americans spent approximately $17 billion to purchase about 7.1 pounds of candy, meals and clothing for Easter.
That’s all fine if we keep our priorities in focus. Just as spring is nature’s renewal, what can be more of a renewal than watching laughing kids searching for colored eggs to place in their baskets as we sit and remember our own childhoods?
We can all take time to reflect on how we treat family and all our fellow humans. If you are able to gather with family and friends today, consider yourself fortunate. Put your cellphone down for a while, especially if close members of your family are right there before you. There’s a good chance, as life goes on, you won’t get these opportunities often.
Certainly, this holiday is based in faith. But perhaps the most basic message that can pertain to all of us today — regardless of religious affiliation, is that we can renew ourselves.
So, no matter how you plan on observing this Easter Sunday, we sincerely hope it is meaningful for you, your family and extended families. No fooling.