“It’s that time of year again, when school children are coloring pictures of Jesus hanging from a cross, and shop owners fill their windows with gaily colored cutouts of the Flogging at the Pillar. In the malls everyone’s humming along with seasonal hits on the sound system, like “O Sacred head, Sore Wounded (did you hear the Chipmunks’ version?). Car dealers are promoting Great Big Empty-Tomb Size discounts on Toyotas.
Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Easter. Who hasn’t been invited to an “In His Steps” party, where layers move plastic pieces around a board emblazoned with a map of Jesus’ last suffering day in Jerusalem?”
“I want to suggest that Christians may best reclaim Christmas,
indirectly, by first reclaiming Easter. Ours is an ironic faith, one that trains its adherents to see strength in weakness. The irony at hand could be that a secularizing culture has shown us something important by devaluing Christmas. In a way, Christians have valued Christmas too much and in the wrong way. I defer
again to Hoffman, who writes, “Historians tell us that Christmas was not always the cultural fulcrum that balances Christian life. There was a time when Christians knew that the paschal mystery of death and resurrection was the center of Christian faith. It was Easter that mattered, not Christmas. Only in the consumer-conscious nineteenth century did Christmas overtake Easter, becoming the centerpiece of popular piety. Madison avenue marketed the change,
and then colluded with the entertainment industry to boost Christmas to its current calendrial prominence.’ “The Bible, of course, knows nothing of the designated holidays we call Easter or Christmas. But each holiday celebrates particular events, and there can be no doubt which set of events receives the most scriptural emphasis.”
Rodney Clapp, “Let the Pagans Have the Holiday