It’s probably a good thing that Easter and Christmas are spaced out by a few months. Imagine if they were celebrated on the same weekend. On Saturday we would celebrate a virgin giving birth to God in the flesh, followed by celebrating this same person being resurrected after three days buried in a tomb. I can hear it being referred to as the “Religious Wacky Weekend” or the “Mythical 48 Hours.” But I imagine the kids would love it.
The life of Jesus Christ begins and ends with the incredible. This is the thing about the guy, you pull on any thread of his life that you respect—his teaching, healings, compassion, or love—and if you tug on it a little you are suddenly entangled in things you don’t understand and may even find hard to believe.
In his essay, “What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ,” C. S. Lewis refers to the resurrection in ways he could refer to the incarnation. He writes,
“Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, ‘The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.’ On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happen to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that he was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into ‘ghost’ and ‘corpse’. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?”1
I would simply add that not only the resurrection, but the incarnation also records “how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life.”
“[Jesus] said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.’” – John 8:23-25.
- C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1970), 159. Italics in original.