Christmas is on December 25. Independence Day in on July 4. Veterans Day is on November 11. Why does Easter jump around so much? Well, it has to do with the sun and the moon.
Our seasons are determined by the angle of the sun hitting the earth. That angle changes because the earth is tilted on its axis 23 degrees. As the earth orbits the sun the angle of the sun changes. The sun is at its highest angle in the northern hemisphere on or around June 21, the summer solstice. It is at its lowest angle on December 21, the winter solstice. The fall equinox is on September 21 and the spring equinox is on March 21.
It is the spring equinox that comes into play concerning Easter. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. The first full moon after the spring equinox can come as early as March 21 or as late as April 17. So Easter can come as early as March 22 or as late as April 24. Last year Easter fell on April 23, which is the latest it will be in any of our lifetimes.
The reason for all this is Passover. The above formula is roughly how the Jews determine the time of the Passover feast. Jesus was crucified on the Friday after the Passover feast. The Christian Council at Nicaea in 325 AD decided to stay true to that relationship between Passover and Christ’s death and resurrection. So that is how Easter came to be a moveable Holy Day.
We always hear that Jesus was in the tomb for three days. That’s not exactly true. Jesus was buried at sundown on Friday and rose from the dead before sunrise on Sunday.
That is roughly 36 hours, about a day and a half. The Christian tradition. Which his a bit squinty, says that he descended into hell for that time. As torturous as crucifixion must have been, it must have been much worse for Jesus to be in hell at the mercy of Satan and the demons for a day and a half. The lengths to which our Savior was willing to go to erase our sins and sanctify us for eternity! Praise be to God for his wonderfully amazing plan for our salvation.
Here at A Better Angel, we pamphleteers (That sounds better than bloggers) hold Abraham Lincoln in high esteem. He gave us the phrase in his First Inaugural Address.
Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, which in 1865 was on April 14. In the last hundred years, Good Friday has landed on April 14 only five times, the last being in 2017. It will happen again in 2028. This year Good Friday was on April 15, missing Lincoln’s assassination date by one day.
In 1865, Lincoln’s murder on the same day as Jesus’s was viewed with a great deal of symbolism. The man who saved the Union dying on the same day as did the man who saved the world was not seen as a coincidence. I don’t know about that, but I do know that Jesus Christ’s death was more impactive to history than Abraham Lincoln’s.
I know Christmas gets the most attention, but the most important holy day is Easter. That’s the day God changed everything.