As far back as I can remember, the annual week long spring school break centered around Easter. As kids, we knew that we were going to either get the week before or after Easter off from school. When I became a pastor, I really liked this annual school observance because it meant that the entire United States was pausing for a week to consider the most important day in the Christian faith, the day that Jesus rose again from the dead! I know that for some people, Easter is still about chocolate bunnies, Easter egg hunts and marshmallow chicks, but I still enjoyed the fact that the entire school system took a break from the normal routine at that time of year.
When Did Easter Break Become Spring Break?
I am not sure exactly when it happened, but all of a sudden the schools stopped using the phrase Easter break and started calling it spring break. I am sure it had something to do with the liberals’ insistence upon keeping a “separation of church and state,” which is a gross misinterpretation of our constitution, but that is a blog for another day and another time. In our country, often times the loudest and most persistent voice is the one that gets heard, but once again, don’t get me going on that one!
According to an article last year in the New York Times, published March 22, 2013, Glendon Swarthout, an English professor at Michigan State University in 1958, overheard his students buzzing about their Easter break trip to Fort Lauderdale. During that time, most students would head home to attend Easter church services with their parents, but now the word was spreading of another kind of Easter break. The week consisted of partying and drunken debauchery on every level conceivable. Swarthout decided to “tag along” so that he could observe the rituals of this new kind of Easter vacation that students across the nation were indulging in.
Upon his return, Swarthout wrote a novel chronicling the debauchery that he observed. In a nod to the Easter season, he called the book Unholy Spring. When executives in Hollywood decided to turn the novel into a raunchy movie titled, “Where the Boys Are,” they marketed the phrase “spring vacation”,which eventually morphed into spring break. I think it is interesting, whether consciously or subconsciously, there seemed to be a conviction to separate this Christian holy day from the worldly debauchery that is often associated with the spring break.
A Time Change for Easter Break
The thing that was still interesting though, was that for years spring break continued to be observed either the week before or the week after Easter. But in recent years, the date of spring break changed dramatically. Schools adopted the phrase “spring break” and scheduled it at a time that best fit their individual academic schedules and mandatory state wide testing, which meant it could occur (like this year) a month before the Easter holiday.
One benefit of spreading the spring break out by district and having it occur at random weeks each year is that it cuts down the amount of students on break at the same time, which cuts down the amount of mischief happening and crowds at amusement parks, beaches and malls. So that was a positive aspect of this change, but in my mind, there was also a big negative.
Easter Became Just Another Holiday. Is Christmas next?
The negative effect of this change is that Easter has become just another holiday. Now it is one day out of the year where people stop and think about what that day means to them, instead of an entire week. Kids no longer associate Easter with their spring school break. Currently, schools still take two weeks off for Christmas, but I wonder if in the future we will see a change there as well?
Impact For Us Who Are Believers in Jesus and Who Celebrate Easter?
I personally believe that this whole switching of the times for schools to celebrate spring break could have been orchestrated by the devil as a tool to get peoples’ attention off of Easter. It is becoming this sort of “out of site out of mind” holiday that creeps up on people, whereas in earlier decades people planned their spring calendar around Easter break.
For believers in Christ, we recognize that the Easter celebration is the most important event that has ever happened in the history of mankind. It is the day that Jesus rose again from the dead! This recent switch in the time of spring break means that we must work extra hard to push Easter back into the forefront of people’s minds. We need to seize the opportunity to ask people what they are doing for Easter. We need to not be afraid to ask if they are attending a church service somewhere, assuming that it is what they should be thinking about! Let’s take advantage of the opportunity to invite others to join us in gathering with other believers to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Paul the Apostle declared that the preaching of the gospel has the power to save and transform lives. (Romans 1:16)
The central message of the gospel is the resurrection! Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 15:14-20:
“And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless… And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.”
The Apostle Peter added, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3
Everything that we believe, every blessing that we have, and everything that we have to look forward to, is connected to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The only real hope for this broken world that we live in, that is getting darker by the day, is in the risen Savior, our Lord and King, Jesus Christ! Seize the day, church. Seize the day!