There is a primary, universal symbol of Spring that is on the horizon as well. Easter. For many families (especially with small children), the "Easter Bunny" will be coming to town to sneakingly leave candy-filled eggs, baskets filled with goodies and to mark his place in holiday history and folklore.
But, what about the TRUE meaning of Easter? It has sadly lost it's REAL meaning among the masses.
The simplest of answers is that Jesus rose from the grave to go to Heaven. It is to celebrate that day that He has arisen.
But, let's delve deeper in to that simplicity, shall we?
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (via http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+COR.15&version=NIV)
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
If you look carefully at the RED, highlighted areas, we will be primarily concentrating on those key points.
God spoke to Jesus as he went off and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights and said to Him that Jesus was to be the "Sacrificial Lamb" to save all of humanity. So, Jesus had done as His Heavenly Father bequeathed of His Holy Son and went off to prepare the others as to what was to come.
Hence the Last Supper. Jesus told the Disciples that night that one of them would betray Him. Of course, as we all know, that became to be Peter. He denied Christ. All to save his own skin and in the end, Jesus was caught, tried by Pontius Pilate and convicted of baring False Witness to the masses, "claiming" to be the true Son of God.
After Pilate, ruler over the Roman empire at that time asked his subjects if Jesus should be spared, the crowd went wild and called for his execution, via being nailed to the cross. But SPARED the thief. All in the name of making Jesus an "example" of what happens to those that claim to be the Holy One of God.
Now, we all know what happened next. Jesus was nailed by His hands and His feet to a wooden cross. He was humiliated and had things thrown at Him. Finally, after HOURS upon the cross, He exclaimed, "It is finished!". Then, Jesus hung His head and gave His spirit to His Father.
After His death, Jesus was removed from the cross. But not before the spear was driven through His side to confirm that indeed Jesus was dead.
The next day was the Sabbath. So preparation and placing of the body had to be done quickly. For, no death preparations were to be made during Sabbath. Joseph pleaded to Pilate to let him have Jesus' remains. It was allowed.
Jesus then was taken to the tomb, accompanied by Nicodemus. There was brought myrrh, aloes, and other spices. His body was wrapped in fine linens. Then, He was anointed and the burial tomb was then sealed by a huge bolder that was rolled in front of the entrance.
When the two Marys came back to check on the tomb, to their amazement and disbelief, the tomb's entrance was uncovered, with the boulder setting off to the side. Someone somehow OPENED the tomb. As the Marys entered, they found no one there! Jesus was gone. They panicked. Simon Peter was told that Jesus was missing.
As Mary Magdalene wept, Jesus came to her and asked why she was weeping. Mary looked up, and to her amazement, saw Jesus Christ standing before her. The Lord then asked whom Mary was searching for. Being that Mary's back was turned, she did not realize it was Jesus standing by her. She turned and exclaimed "Teacher!"
Christ told Mary He had not yet returned to the Father, and to not "hold Him". He then sent her forth to tell the Disciples that Christ the Lord has arisen and returned from the grave.
Jesus then appeared to them on the "evening of the first day of the week" and had shown His followers the marks of His hands and of His feet as proof that it was indeed the Living Christ.
Then, He appeared to Thomas, who had still not believed that indeed the Lord God had arisen from His death and tomb. So, Thomas was instructed to place his hand upon Jesus' side. Then, Thomas believed that Jesus spoke the truth.
Jesus stayed with His Disciples for a bit, until God had called Him home. Then, the following happened...
(Acts 1:6-11.. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+1&version=NIV)6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
So, as you can see, the TRUE and the REAL meaning of Easter is not in candy, eggs, or worldly gifts of the flesh. It is of the soul/spirit of us and the Saving Grace that was given to us. It is of Jesus Christ symbolizing an embodiment of love and sacrifice. He gave of Himself, at His Holy Father's request to be the ultimate Sacrifice for us. He triumphed over the powers of death.
The Lord, our God gave all for us and our well being. He gave us a way in to Heaven. He arose and had beaten physical death to give us everlasting spiritual life with Him and our Father.
This is the real meaning of Easter....