Madison Avenue is rarely interested in religious holidays unless they can make a buck or two off of them. For decades, they have been co-opting religious holidays in order to profit from them. Take Christmas for example. Their advertising focuses on the need to give expensive gifts, and now most businesses make the majority of their money during the Christmas season. The gullible public has swallowed it hook, line and sinker to the point that fights erupt in stores on Black Friday so that people can get the cherished items they must have for Christmas.
Easter does not rival Christmas on Madison Avenue because it is not about stark materialism. Instead, bunnies and eggs are sold in the stores to help us celebrate the day. A study of the origin of these symbols shows us that in ancient times they were the pagan symbols of fertility. The word Easter itself comes from Eastre or Ishtar the pagan goddess of spring.
How can we as believers in Christ not let the secular co-opt the sacred during our religious holidays? If we go to traditional churches, we will be reminded of the significance of each holiday. Advent is celebrated four Sundays before Christmas in order to help us remember the birth of Christ. Lent begins forty days before Resurrection Sunday so that we might prepare our hearts to celebrate Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. If we do not go to traditional churches, we must become intentional if we want to keep a spiritual focus during these sacred seasons.
Being a Christian does not mean we do not buy gifts at Christmas. Neither does it mean that we do not indulge in a bit of candy on Resurrection Sunday. It means that we must make an effort to not let Madison Avenue and its secular version of each holiday co-opt the true meaning of the holidays we celebrate. We must become intentional if we want to participate in the spiritual significance of each of these holidays.