For me, it’s not Easter without weeks of the Cadbury bunny commercials as a lead up, dark chocolate bunnies from Lindt, and reminding my sister how much I love eating rabbit (every holiday needs a dark side). But like so many other holidays, it is a day that occupies a very odd place in our society—religious, anciently pagan, secular, traditional, political and commercial all at once. And while occupying all of these different spaces, it is a day that means many and varied things to many and varied groups to the extent that it becomes an almost impossible task to determine what Easter means for humanity at large.
But the one thing we can say is that in the face of a world that seems to become more stressful and more atrocious every day, all over the world, a day that holds meaning for a large portion of the population is a day on which we can reflect upon how to bring the subtle, implied meanings of Easter forward. Whether we think of it as a time devoted to an overwhelming religious miracle or a day that reminds us of the rebirth and renewal of the world that happens in spring, this should be a time at which we look to move beyond that past rather than repeat it. Violence and bigotry seem to be steadily increasing and many groups attempt to re-wage the wars of the last couple centuries and the last couple millennia. Starvation, drought and disease seem to be everywhere—even as we fight over how to define rights, we seem to be steadily losing grasp of the concept of a common human race, and so we are losing grasp of the concept of basic human rights. People work harder for less, even though we have more “stuff” than ever before, and are more disconnected than ever.
But this is not something irrevocable—well, not completely. We cannot undo what has been done, or even what we are in the process of doing, but we can choice a new way forward. We have to tap into those stories of miracles, of salvation, renewal and rebirth, and make a conscious, intelligence choice to put aside the differences we are accentuating more than ever, and walk forward together. We don’t need to find common ground—we have it. This planet is common ground enough. There is nothing that is happening now that is not directly the cause of the choices (and inactions) of people. Likewise, it is the choices (and inactions) of people that will cause a change. So by all means, as this holiday comes to a close, renew your faith in whatever you believe in, gorge on candy, spend time with your family, ignore the holiday—whatever your personal rite for this time of year is. But also, find a way to consciously carry that faith, that renewal, that love of family forward into the way you live, work, interact with other people, because it absolutely can affect other people. It is not about enforcing a certain will or way of life upon others, but finding a way to renew in ourselves a sense of a common human spirit and say, despite our differences, despite what we may disagree on in how each other lives or loves, that common spirit matters more than anything and we can renew that bond and coexist.