My Christmas cactus is blooming for Easter this year! The botanical explanation may be that we moved to a new house and it’s reacting to different light exposure. But a more sacred reason comes to mind whenever I gaze its way.
How appropriate that a Christmas cactus would bloom at Easter to remind us that the two holy celebrations are intrinsically connected…inseparable in fact. For Christians, Christmas and Easter only exist because of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who dwelled among us. Had He not come to earth, we would have no resurrection to celebrate. Had He not given Himself to die on the cross, we would have no reason to acknowledge His arrival. Without Easter, Christmas is just a materialistic season of overspending and overeating. Without Christmas, Easter is just an extravagant brunch with a lot of candy and brightly colored eggs. One loses all meaning without the other.
Is there value in gathering together with friends and family over the Christmas season to exchange gifts and restore relationships? Of course there is. Is there value in rejoicing in the arrival of spring and celebrating all that’s fresh and new with fluffy chicks and rabbits? Of course there is.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to decorate for Christmas. I also love rabbits, and have decorative ones all over my house at Easter time. The danger is in letting all the trappings of either holiday obscure the message that can transform us not twice a year, but each day and forever.
Nowhere is that message more clearly stated than in God’s Word and by Jesus Himself. In John 3:16-17 Jesus taught, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Always clear about His mission, Jesus comforted his grieving friend Martha by saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lies and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
He was sent in love. He died in love. He was resurrected and lives forever. And because He lives, so do those who believe in Him. It’s as simple as that. Jesus Christ always was and always will be. Christmas and Easter are merely the bookends of His sinless earthly life, but to celebrate one without the other makes no sense at all.
My Christmas cactus is so grateful for life that it just had to bloom this Easter! May the same be said of us. Have a joyful Easter—and look for opportunities to bloom!