I have previously expressed some......um.......dissatisfaction with some of how Christmas is treated (that is here). Now it is Easter.
Christians celebrate Easter because they have a tradition of recognizing the event. But it seems to me that to a significant extent Christians do not fully comprehend the meaning of the event. (I can't claim that I fully comprehend the meaning of the event either, it is just so huge.)
Jesus did not die and come back for Christians. It is not a Christian event. It is a cosmic event. In Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection God brought his forgiveness to bear in the concrete historical reality of this world. That forgiveness has hit the ground. God has done this whether we recognize it or not. It has changed the whole dynamic of the world.
Many people ask, "But I am a good person. Why do I need forgiveness?" Ask that question when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, or while you are driving to work, or in the quiet at the end of the day. Ask that question when you remember that feeling that you just don't measure up, that you don't really make any difference, that it wouldn't really make any difference if you weren't there. You feel this because you know that you are supposed to measure up (even people who had affirming families feel this.) You feel this because you know that you are supposed to make a difference. You feel this because you know that there should be value in you being here. Those of you who have really accomplished things know that accomplishment does not banish this feeling.
We are supposed to make a difference, a huge difference. We were designed to make this world perfect. Every day we fail and we know it.
That is what forgiveness is for. That is what Easter is about. God always forgave us for our failure. In Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection God brought his forgiveness to bear in the concrete historical reality of this world. It did not change God's heart. It transformed the order of creation. God's eternal forgiveness has intersected time in the universally transforming event that Easter remembers. Easter is for the cosmos. Your failure has been forgiven not just in principle but in fact. (A glimpse at what this says about the personality of God is here.)
Easter has nothing to do with eggs, or bunnies, or chocolate, or sunrise services. Easter is about a cosmic revolution that God effected nearly 2000 years ago in a backwater province of the Roman Empire.
Easter is not for Christians. Christians are those who have seen and thereby have experienced and been transformed by this universal explosion and who cannot help but show it to all the others who it effects but have not seen it.
Easter commemorates God's concrete forgiveness of our failure to interact with this world in the way he designed us to. Easter looks forward to Pentecost. Pentecost commemorates the event in which God empowered us to no-longer fail but to truly measure up to our purpose, to truly make the difference we desire to make, to be fully alive and crammed full of exactly the sort of value we know that we were made for.