Obviously, not everyone puts any stock in Easter as something amazing, remarkable, or even worth pondering in such a way as to change how they live their life. Some people don’t really know anything about Easter beyond the visible signs of the commercial holiday: fuzzy pink and bright yellow stuffed bunnies on sale just about everywhere one sees the marshmallow chicks and chocolate Easter bunnies and decorated plastic Easter eggs.
As with Christmas, Easter is a great American holiday for increasing sales and profits, to say nothing of putting smiles on the faces of children (and some adults) when they receive their annual Easter baskets — filled with pink-, green-, or natural-colored “straw,” both hiding and supporting all those assorted creme-filled chocolate eggs, solid chocolate bunnies with big ears, and some little trinket or surprise to keep or play with, found at the bottom of the colorful “nest.” And whether or not the custom in one’s family is to hide the dyed eggs after the children have found them in their baskets, or before the children even wake up, so that they can find the eggs and then put them into their Easter baskets, the Easter egg hunt is still a fun and lasting tradition.
It’s probably a little harder (compared to Christmas) to stir up the sentiment among the buying adult public that Easter is also a time to buy expensive gifts for one another, or just one’s loved ones, outside of spending money on all that fuzzy, fun, and marshmallowy or chocolatey stuff for the kiddies.
And strangely enough, while Christmas get lots of play or advertising time, and it warrants an entire season sometimes starting in early October, if one notices the ads and the stores bringing out their decorations and gift suggestions — sometimes people are surprised to learn that Easter is right around the corner, having no sense of it
except from seeing the fuzzy pink bunnies here and there as they shop, or noticing the clip-art of decorated eggs in those weekly mailbox flyers, calling attention to the hams and special breads on sale for the big day.
Obviously, again, if one is not a follower of Jesus in some way, his Resurrection Day (referred to as Easter among many people) is not terribly significant or even that well known and accepted as fact.
Putting all differences among all religions aside, and just zooming in on a few historical or supposed facts, most of us would agree that there is enough evidence to convince them that the man Jesus (or Joshua ben Joseph) lived and died — whether or not they then believe that that man Jesus was also the Son of God, as he claimed to be.
Anyone can obviously claim anything they want about themselves, and that does not make such claims true. And in regard to such claims, either they can be historically or physically or factually proven or not. Yet if they are true, and cannot be proven to everyone’s satisfaction — as in beyond a reasonable doubt, such as would hold up in court if Jesus were ever put on trial today to prove or disprove his claim — what would that mean to humanity?
If his claims were “proven” false, or not proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be true, that wouldn’t change anything for many people, since they never believed his claims in the first place. But for all those who came to believe, or have always believed, would this mean that they would have to throw away their belief in Jesus as the Son of God,
and his Resurrection, and all that means? Perhaps that is what it might mean for some — perhaps for those who have forgotten that we can and often do hold to truths that cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Doctors have often pronounced some patients beyond hope, with no chance for recovery or survival, yet somehow, in some way, with or without the belief in their recovery from those who love them, they make remarkable recoveries and prove every single doctor wrong. Some babies, who are born with “no chance” for survival according to all the specialists, thrive anyway beyond ordinary survival, and may even go on to exhibit greatness.
Many of us may have heard or read stories, perhaps passed down to us from ancestors, or read in some old, or little-known book, and while we might want to believe in them, we might never have any way of proving the validity of the stories beyond a reasonable doubt… yet something in us may still cling to the truths we feel to be true. And none of those stories, or belief in them, even all together, can ever be called proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
There are some things that are just known, notwithstanding “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” And I would have to add that there are some things that have been believed to be true, that have later turned out to be false (the earth is flat, and the planets revolve around it), just as the above-mentioned instances of no hope for particular patients or babies born without a chance for life, have proven all doctors wrong.
The point is that it isn’t necessary to prove something for it to be true, and proving it isn’t true, by man’s usual methods, doesn’t necessarily negate it out of hand.
As with practically anything these days, the resurrection of Jesus can be Googled and one can spend hours — if not days — reading about the case for and the case against believing in the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion under Pontius Pilate. But as always, regardless of the so-called “proof” as presented by those who have “a horse in the race,” pro or con, the really big question is: What if Jesus really was/is the Son of God, and his resurrection, showing us that life does not end with the death of the body, was his greatest visible gift to us, granting us hope that life everlasting is real and attainable for us, one and all? What if everything about his death — and even his life, which is another story — was allowed to unfold exactly as life unfolds for all of us, one day, one event, at a time, factoring in all the outside influences that press upon us (in other words, not having God the Father remove those obstacles or challenges that everyday people have just because Jesus was the Son of God)? What if Jesus chose to not use his own divine power or to call upon his Father to create a special kind of smooth-sailing life — the kind of life that many people would wish for themselves and might expect the Son of God to choose for himself? What if Jesus really wanted to be one of us, an “ordinary person” leading an “ordinary” life to show us that no matter how we come into this world, or what life throws our way, or how we are treated, or how much we have, or even who is against us, we all have that same opportunity to live forever, to go on to another life that is not about material things, or power, or ranking of any kind, but is about choosing to go on to that eternal life and let our will be God’s will?
Imagine if the resurrection was true and it was Jesus’ way of showing us that there is eternal life? Imagine if everything we could want to make us happy — love, truth (finally), beauty and goodness, and even adventure that never ends — were all there for the wanting and the accepting, would that not be the best news one could ever receive!
Happy Easter! And Happy Resurrection Day!
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.