Christ, the Passover great and most Holy! O Wisdom, Word and Power of God! Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the day of Thy Kingdom which knows no night. (Orthodox Paschal Hymn).
Easter is the feast of real joy because it celebrates ‘Christ, the Passover’, our Saviour’s sacrifice and His Resurrection! These great events powerfully reveal God’s love for all humankind, and they have allowed us to hope in the miracle of eternal life. Such a life no longer ‘knows night’, since Christ’s sacrifice has decisively destroyed the power of death, darkness and decay.
Easter begins on the night of the Paschal celebration. For fifty days after Easter, everyone is invited to enter ‘this great joy of their Lord,’ so eloquently expressed by St John Chrysostom in his Easter sermon, where he states, ‘rich and poor, come to the feast, receive all the riches of loving-kindness…for the universal Kingdom has been revealed.’ This statement explains why Easter is a celebration of real joy because it tells us that God’s mercy is directed to all people since Christ became our Pascal sacrifice, through which He delivered us from the consequences of our sins, our sense of hopelessness and despair.
Easter gives us hope in eternal life. In other words, we know that life does not end at the grave because our Lord has overcome death and opened up our passage to His eternal Kingdom. Easter, however, does not only affect how we view existential matters such as where we go to from this life, but it also can influence how we deal with issues and problems which challenge us in our day-to-day experience. This is because, as Alexander Schmemann writes: ‘Easter transforms the year into a “Christian year.”’