Dr. Ray Pritchard

In our society there are two great religious holidays-Christmas and Easter. For most of us Christmas is the bigger and greater season of the year. It's the time of year when we gather with family and friends to sing carols, decorate the tree, and exchange gifts. Christmas is the climax of the whole year. Easter? Well, for most people it's just another long weekend, another chance to get away for a few days.

Even Christians view Easter as a second-rate holiday!

Somehow we've gotten our thinking badly mixed up. If Easter had not happened, Christmas would have no meaning. If the tomb is not empty, the cradle makes no difference. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then he really is just a misguided Jewish rabbi with delusions of grandeur. If Easter is not true, then Christmas is only the story of an obscure baby born in an out-of-the-way village in a forgotten land 2000 years ago. It is Easter that gives Christmas its meaning.

You want proof? In all the New Testament no major doctrinal point is ever built upon the the virgin birth of Christ. Not one. It's true. It happened. But it's never discussed or mentioned. In fact, two gospels don't even say anything about it.

But the resurrection? That's a different story. In every part of the New Testament, it comes up again and again. Read the sermons of Acts. When the first Christians preached, they didn't mention Bethlehem; they talked about the empty tomb. They never got over the fact that on Easter Sunday when they went to the tomb, Jesus was gone.

Excerpted from "Easter Questions" by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).