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It Happened on Easter

I enjoy studying "On This Day in History" lists. They often include not only genuinely historic events but also some other interesting but not necessarily historic things.

With Easter commemorations being observed this weekend, I thought it might be interesting to dig into some of the things that have happened on Easter over the years.

Some of the events I uncovered have direct connections to the holiday. For example, in 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes hosted the first White House Easter egg roll, allegedly symbolic of the stone's having been rolled from the entrance of Jesus' empty tomb (a representation that woke media covering the current White House egg roll would never dare mention).

In 1885, the House of Faberge began making jewel-encrusted eggs, which quickly became a favorite gift of Russian nobles to their wives.

In the 1930s, jelly beans began appearing in Easter baskets across the nation. Two decades later, in the 1950s, the jelly beans were joined by Peeps, those pink or yellow sugar-coated marshmallow chicks now so closely associated with Easter.

But many disturbing events also occurred at Easter. Consider, for example, the following Easter events that occurred during World War II. In 1941, German troops attacked Tobruk, the Libyan port city on the Mediterranean. In 1942, the Japanese attacked British troops on Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). Perhaps not tragic but nonetheless associated with the war was Charles De Gaulle's 1944 accession to the position of commander in chief of the Free French Forces. And in 1945, the battle of Okinawa began, resulting in the deaths of more than 12,000 U.S. sailors, soldiers, and Marines.

None of these events, however, comes anywhere close to being the greatest event in history. That signal event did, however, happen at the time we call Easter: it was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So great was that sole event that the apostle Paul wrote,

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. . . . And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. . . . If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:14, 17, 19).

This single, seminal event puts all the other events I've mentioned into their proper perspective. Regardless of whatever else mankind does, good or bad, pales in contrasts to the resurrection of Christ. Those other events affected the then-present moments in time; the Resurrection affects all eternity. The empty Cross and the empty tomb are the hallmarks of true Christianity. No other religion can claim those life-changing events.

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