One year when we were living in Hong Kong we didn’t come home to Canada at Christmas time but decided to fly back at Easter instead because our son was going to have a leading role in a Winnipeg production of Jesus Christ Super Star and we really wanted to see him perform. Since we hadn’t been here for Christmas we got together with our family for what I dubbed a Chreaster celebration. We marked Christmas and Easter at the same time. I gave the children and their partners both a stocking and an Easter basket filled with gifts. I even wrote a newspaper column about our Chreaster celebrations.
I thought I had invented the word Chreaster but to my surprise I saw it in the headline of an article in The Washington Post this past week. The columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. refers to Chreasters as people who only attend church on Christmas and Easter.
Dionne says probably the Chreasters show up at church on holidays because they enjoy listening to familiar Christmas music and perhaps want to rekindle memories of their childhood.
He’d prefer to think they are people who have given up on the institutionalized church but still want to believe there is a transcendent being who creates beauty. They still hope for a world where love and justice are the norm.
I think a belief in a creative spirit and a hope for a better world is what motivates most good people in their daily life whether they never attend church, attend every Sunday or are Chreasters.