Well, we celebrated it, but as with Christmas, we celebrated only the secular side of the holiday. We colored eggs, we shared Easter baskets, but we never attached those pagan rituals to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
I’m not sure why. We didn’t celebrate Christmas, either, because it wasn’t suggested that we do so in teh Bible, and we disagreed with the timing of the holiday, as well. Unlike the first Christmas – which most likely did not occur in December — our modern-day Easter mimics a similar calendar as the first one did — right around Passover, the holiday that brought Jesus to Jerusalem in the first place.
Instead, baptized members of the church of Christ celebrate the last portion of Jesus’ earthly life every Sunday, with communion, but it was a point of pride (at least in my own church) that we didn’t do anything different on Easter. It was like every other Sunday. One year, however, a song leader led “He Arose” on Easter, and we all sang it to be polite, but I remember feeling a little uncomfortable about it.
I’m digressing. It was very much a part of our canon — a word we never used — to believe in the actual, historic Jesus, and the details of his life, such as we have, as laid out in the Christian scriptures. That meant there was a physical man named Jesus, and he grew up and was baptized by his cousin (I’m hitting the highlights here, but then, so does the Bible) and he preached and performed real, live miracles, and he gained the unwelcome attention of the authorities, was tried in a kangaroo court, and tortured on a cross until he died.
Three days later (though he was said to have been crucified on a Friday, and if he rose on a Sunday that’s technically two days, but let’s not quibble), he rose from his borrowed grave, appeared to some of his disciples, and then went to heaven.
What I’m saying, in too many words, is that a belief in the actual events of the end of Jesus’ life was considered, as Justjss says, a cornerstone of our faith.
I know plenty of believers who identify as Christian, but don’t embrace the crucifixion story as fact. I’ve thought about this, and even if I didn’t embrace it, I don’t think that would be a deal-breaker for me. But I wonder, in all the colors we represent, do you need to believe the event actually occurred, and not as a metaphor but an actual fact? Or can you believe there was an important man named Jesus, without, say, the virgin birth or the amazing back-from-the-grave story? Is the story every bit as important to you?
I actually don’t know the answer and I’m fairly comfortable with that. I welcome your thoughts, though.