I suspect that the total extent of many people's knowledge of the Easter story may simply be that they know that on Good Friday we remember Jesus' crucifixion, and on Easter Day we remember His rising from the dead. But I wonder how many people understand that until Easter Day we are still in the Church's season of Lent, or understand what that season involves for Christians.
Because, for practising Christians, the joy and celebration of Easter Day is heightened further by virtue of the fact that it comes at the end of Lent - the forty-day period when we remember Jesus' fasting in the wilderness and His temptation by the devil. During those forty days we commit to our own personal disciplines of fasting, penitence, prayer, study of God's word, good works, and generous giving, in whatever way and whatever proportions we can manage.
Following on from Lent and Good Friday, Easter Day is the Christian's big day of celebration - the day when we remember Jesus' glorious resurrection - His rising from the dead. It's also a day when children (and perhaps some adults too!), eagerly anticipate receiving chocolate in the form of Easter eggs (or maybe chocolate in some other shape!).
Eggs, of course, are traditional at Easter because they represent the hope and anticipation of new life. And new life and hope is what Jesus gave us by his resurrection. In His rising from the dead, He not only defeated death once and for all, but brought us hope in His promise of eternal life to those who love Him and follow in His ways. This is the inspiration for us to follow Jesus' teaching, because we know that, at the end of our lives, when we meet Him face-to-face, the wonder of eternal life with Jesus and His Father will far outweigh anything we have ever known here on earth. This is borne out by what is arguably the most important verse in the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life". (John 3:16, NRSV)
Whether or not you are practising Christians and have managed to maintain your forty days of self-discipline and self-sacrifice for Lent this year, I pray that you will all have a peaceful, joyous and blessed Easter.
With my blessings,