Why Do Christians Celebrate Easter (So Extravagantly)?

Is all the extravagance surrounding Easter a distraction, or are Christians right to give it the special attention they do?

Let’s avoid the culture wars of the Easter Bunny, Cadbury eggs, and egg hunts, and simply speak to what happens in most churches on the morning of Easter Sunday: we go all out.

Going all out for Easter

The music is typically a notch or two more elaborate than normal. The sermon is noticeably more refined and passionate. And everyone seems to dress in their very best Sunday best.

Many churches even decorate specifically for Easter Sunday. The church I attended in college used decorations to heighten the contrast between Good Friday and Easter. In the Good Friday service, red roses with thorns lined the aisles to communicate suffering. On Sunday, white lilies replaced the roses to communicate resurrection. It was a beautiful, artistic way to remind us that in the Christian faith, life comes through death.

Churches seem to love pulling out all the stops for Easter, but is all the pomp justified, biblically?

clickable image: Discover What Jesus' Tomb Was Really Like. Go.

Why is Easter special?

The apostle Paul says of the resurrection, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14 NIV). Without the resurrection, there is no Christian faith.

A few verses later, Paul declares how all of history pivots on the resurrection:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:20–24 NIV)

It is only because of the resurrection that anyone can move from corruption to restoration—only by Jesus’ work is Adam’s undone and a new creation secured.

Easter is the day we set aside to celebrate this truth. It is a day we dedicate solely to the central tenet of our faith: Christ is risen. (He is risen, indeed!)

Be extravagant

As such, a certain amount of pomp is more than justified—it is encouraged.

Let the bright pastels, the pressed suits, the church choir, the full band, the near-perfect sermon, and the however-else-you-mark-it-special commence.

In the church I most recently called home, we recited the Apostles’ Creed weekly. But on Resurrection Sunday, we added a twist:

On the third day, he rose again
On the third day
—the third day—
On the third day, he rose again

If you have a hand in putting together Easter Sunday at your church, have it at. Add your twist. You still have time to prepare elements that draw unique attention to the reason for our faith.


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Written by
Matthew Boffey

Matthew Boffey (MDiv, Trinity International University) is the pastor of worship at Christ Church Bellingham. He is also editor-in-chief of Ministry Team magazine, has edited several books, and has written for several blogs and publications, including Relevant online, the Logos blog, and the Faithlife blog.

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Written by Matthew Boffey
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