In Christianity, Christmas is an important holy day because it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, who Himself claimed to be the Son of God. But the weekend correlating with the Jewish celebration of Passover is the one that makes Christianity unique, and so important to Christ followers.
On Friday of the Passover week, it is an historical fact that the founder of Christianity was publicly beaten, tortured and hung on a cross among thieves to die, just days after his arrival to Jerusalem was celebrated. "Blessed is the King of Israel," the crowd shouted the previous Sunday, only six days later to spew the venomous "Crucify him!"
The few friends Jesus had left after his crucifixion on Friday took his body off the cross and placed it in a borrowed tomb. But even the religious leaders of the day knew Jesus' words and that he told The Truth at all times. They feared Jesus' words, because He told His followers He would not stay dead.
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
That would take care of it, the religious and political leaders thought. But on the third day, just as Jesus told His followers,
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
And later, they did see Jesus, before the Son of God ascended into the clouds several weeks later. His death and resurrection provides hope to the lowest and most helpless. "He is risen!" is the Christian shout of hope in a world frustrated, angry and consumed with its own wants and needs, "He is risen!" is the reason Christians around the world die rather than denounce their Savior.
None of us are exemplary in our actions and deeds - but Christians cherish the belief that they are forgiven and accepted because of the price Jesus paid in His death, burial and resurrection. Indeed, He is risen! And that is why Resurrection Day - what is now commonly known as "Easter" -- is so very important to Christians.