The Commercialization of Easter vs. Christmas

I tell the following short-story in order to make a greater cultural observation.  It's "cute" but I think it works just the same:

My wife has a massive sock collection.  Without actually counting, it is safe to say she has more socks than all the articles of clothing I have combined.  She has socks for just about every occasion and season.  For example, the 25 days leading up to Christmas, she has 25 different pairs of Christmas-themed socks that she wears!

(FYI: I find that my wife having such a massive collection of socks to be a very charming thing)

Looking to expand her sock collection in the weeks leading up to Easter, twice we ventured into Target to look for some Easter themed socks.  We did this shortly after St. Patrick's day, but struck out.  (Though oddly enough, in the clearance section we stumbled across a flask with a four-leaf clover on it.)  Disappointed, we vowed to return to Target shortly before Easter and look again, only to end up leaving empty handed after our second try.

Normally, finding seasonally appropriate themed socks for my wife at Target isn't usually a problem.  They usually carry socks for all sorts of seasons and holidays. Of course, Target had other Easter themed merchandise for sale.  However, browsing around the store, Easter themed products were quite minimal, especially if you compared it to other holidays, such as Christmas.

You may wonder, where am I going with all of this?  What cultural observation can be gleaned from the fact that Target wasn't selling Easter themed socks?

My observation is simple.  People tend to spend money on things they find valuable.  Our hearts and our wallets are deeply connected.  Knowing this, retailers often market a lot of merchandise to us that we don't really need, but we find ourselves wanting, if for nothing more than sentimental reasons alone.  And if it is for nothing more than sentimental reasons alone that we buy their merchandise, it still is a reflection of something we consider valuable to us.  Enough so that we are willing to part with our hard earned money in order to obtain the object of our affections.

Of all the holidays, Easter is supposed to be by and far the most important celebration on the Christian calendar.  As Christians, we are supposed to value the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ  above all things.  Yet when it comes to comes to the overt commercialization of our holidays, Christmas wins the day.

There are probably numerous reasons for this.

However, I cannot help but feel that one of the reasons that Christmas is the most cherished holiday on our calendar, and why Easter comes in a distant second or third place, has to ultimately do with something going on in our hearts.  If we spend money on things we find valuable to us, and we find ourselves spending very little on Easter, perhaps it is because there is something about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ that simply doesn't lodge very deeply within our hearts.

It has long been my observation that the importance of the death AND resurrection of Jesus Christ has increasingly taken a back seat place in our faith.  The fact that Jesus died on the cross is something proclaimed by many.  However, the importance of the greatest miracle that has ever happened in all the world, that Jesus Christ was raised to life after being dead for three days, this has become something that we simply tag on to the end of things like "the sinners prayer."  In many gospel presentations that you hear, you will hear very little to nothing at all about Jesus Christ being raised from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead has become a mere apostrophe in our preaching.  It's relegated as a tag-line or side-bar in our story telling.  Yet as the apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans, our very salvation depends on us confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord AND believing in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead.

For all the altar calls, public declarations of faith, and personal testimonies I've heard and seen  over the years, I cannot for the life of me recall very many stories that I've heard where somebody acknowledges that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead, let alone make it something that they've truly taken to heart, and was an instrumental part of their conversion.

At best, Christ's continued existence is turned into a vague and disembodied ghost like state, instead of Him being treated as a man who was actually killed and brought back to life.  Being that our "born again" experience hinges on us believing in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the depths of our hearts, perhaps our actual conversions are not as high as some of our numbers indicate.

As a result of our faith not being centered around the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and our hearts latching onto the significance of this event, our celebration of Easter is mediocre at best.  We find very little value in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and because we find very little value in it, there has been less commercialization around the Easter holiday as a whole in our culture.

In actuality, our celebration of Easter should be the greatest celebration of all, for it is truly something worth celebrating.  We should deck the halls, sing carols, hang lights, and shoot off fireworks as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

(p.s. If anybody from the Target Corporation should read this blog post, will you be sure to stock your stores in Charlotte, North Carolina with Easter themed socks next year?)


  1. I understand your reasoning. To explain why Christians seem so lackadaisical about celebrating Resurrection Day may I suggest that most Christians have a problem relating to what Jesus did on the cross because it has never been a part of our religious culture to offer sacrifices on any alter, nor have we ever observed any Passover, either. We are Gentiles who only know of these things because we have read about them but have never internalized them. It takes serious Bible study to enable one to come to grips with this sacrifice, redemption of sinful men. There is another word Gentiles know little about: redemption. Many are too ignorant of the history that explain Jesus' coming and his purpose.

    Many years ago I got exasperated with Paul's writing - I believed he was so redundant in talking about Jesus dying, redeeming mankind and so forth. Then the Holy Spirit gave me an insight that taught me: Paul was writing to the Jewish people and since this was the case I needed to study the OT law so you can begin to think like a Jew; study their history. I did that: immersed myself in that where I knew it quite well and could think like a Jew. THEN, then I understood what Paul was saying.

    My understanding of this issue is that people are just plain too ignorant of OT history and how it all leads up to Jesus coming...you see we can all relate to the birth of a baby - albeit Jesus' birth had some drama that is peculiar but all can understand the birth, but sacrifice/redemption - no.