The celebrations of the Easter season have always been the most joyous festivals of the church year, for they focus on the event that vindicates Jesus as Lord and Messiah and that offers the promise of life for those who belong to him. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). The Easter or Paschal season includes Ascension Day and concludes with Pentecost.
Colors of the various seasons of the Christian year express the mood or feeling of the season. The following outline presents the colors most often associated with Christian seasons.
The way Christians keep time is a way of remembering. In communal worship, we remember and celebrate the events that make us who we are. Consequently, the celebration of the Christian year forms us into Christ’s body in the world.
The resurrection of the crucified Christ is the point on which the weekly and annual cycles of the Christian calendar turn. In fact, it supplies the clue to the whole history of salvation and indeed the cosmos. Every Sunday and every Easter day is a commemoration and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and an anticipation of the day when the same Lord will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and finally establish God’s universal kingdom.
In the first centuries A.D. the cycle of Christian time grew out of the conviction that all-time finds its meaning in the death and resurrection of Christ. Thus the early Christians, beginning with the paschal event, extended the Christian calendar forward to Pentecost and backward to Lent and Holy Week. Later, in the fourth century, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany were developed to complete the cycle.
Christ’s disciples suffered torturous deaths [read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for the details] because they would not recant their testimony: “We saw Him die; we saw Him resurrected from the dead!” Matthew declares Jesus is Lord by virtue of His resurrection — a miracle no other religion can claim for their founder!
The Easter message is: “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”