Written by David Barton
This Sunday is Easter - one of Christianity's most important holiday. The Apostle Paul affirmed in Romans 1:4: "He was declared to be the Son of God with power ... by the resurrection from the dead."
Since 1971, the Monday following Easter has been observed as the official day of commemoration, but as early as 1776, signer of the Declaration Robert Treat Paine noted in his diary (April 8) that Congress did not meet on the Monday following Easter. To this day, Congressmen still refer to the weekend holiday as the "Easter Recess."
Founding Father Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence and a framer of the Bill of Rights, saw Easter as a time to evangelize his own son, telling him: "The approaching festival of Easter and the merits and mercies of our Redeemer's abundant redemption . . . have inspired me with the hope of finding mercy before my Judge and of being happy in the life to come – a happiness I wish you to participate with me by infusing into your heart a similar hope. . . . and impart to you that peace of mind which the world cannot give."
In 2002, President George W. Bush recalled the importance of Easter in his national proclamation, stating:
During this joyful season of new life and renewal, Christians around the world celebrate the central event of their faith – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Whom Christians believe is the Messiah, the Son of God. . . . Jesus' death stands out in history as the perfect example of unconditional love. The four Gospels of the Christian Bible recount Jesus' amazing life, His miraculous death, resurrection, and ascension, and His unending offer of salvation to all. The story of Jesus' wondrous resurrection comes alive again for Christians each year at Easter.
Christians have been commemorating the last momentous days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus 1,950 years ago. Tomorrow, as morning spreads around the planet, we'll celebrate the triumph of life over death, the Resurrection of Jesus.You can view his entire 1983 Easter/Passover message.