Q: Does “Easter Day” please God?  —Paul

A: “Easter” is not a biblical word, although it was used in Acts 12:4 of the King James Bible. The Greek word is actually the word “Pascha” (Hebrew: Pesach), which means “Passover.” This was the word used in later translations of Acts 12:4 (NLT, NAS, NKJV, NIV, ESV).

It’s true that Easter was originally a “pagan holiday” (so was Christmas). That’s why some Christians prefer the alternative name, “Resurrection Sunday.” And, undoubtedly, decorated eggs, Easter bunnies, and hot cross buns have no place in the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection. But no, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Christians should discard Easter (or Christmas) altogether.

Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday are some of the major events in the Church calendar. These Christian special days or “holy days”, based on the major events of the New Testament, were incorporated into the Church’s calendar to help Christians remember the key events of redemptive history: Christmas celebrates Christ’s Incarnation and birth, Good Friday commemorates Christ’s death, Easter celebrates Christ’s Resurrection, and Pentecost Sunday is the “birthday” of the Christian Church.

There are no Biblical commands to keep these special days. But that doesn’t mean that Christians can’t observe them. For example, in John 10:22, Jesus participated in Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, which was not commanded in the Old Testament. It began during the period between the Old and New Testament when the temple was cleansed and rededicated under the Maccabees. Jesus also attended the synagogue regularly even though there’s no reference to the synagogue in the Mosaic laws. And today, most every local church hosts a special thanksgiving service to celebrate its founding or its anniversary. These examples illustrate that some observances have developed in time without a specific command in Scripture.

In Romans 14:5-8, the apostle Paul gives us some helpful instructions regarding the observance of special “holy days” like Christmas and Easter or church anniversaries:

“Some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. . . . For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:5-8).

If our intention is to honor and glorify God out of a heart of gratitude and thankfulness, I don’t think observing Easter Sunday displeases Him.  —K.T. Sim

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