The Lord died in those days, that we should no longer do the deeds of death. He gave His life, that we might preserve our own from the snares of the devil.
And, what is most wonderful, the Word became flesh, that we should no longer live in the flesh, but in spirit should worship God, who is Spirit.
[…] St Paul said: ‘…because one died for all men, therefore all were dead to Him; and He died for all, that we who live should not henceforth live to ourselves, but to Him who died for us, and rose again’ (2 Cor. 5:13-15).
No longer then ought we to live to ourselves, but, as servants to the Lord.
And not in vain should we receive the grace, as the time is especially an acceptable one (2 Cor. 6:1-2), and the day of salvation hath dawned, even the death of our Redeemer.
For even for our sakes the Word came down, and being incorruptible, put on a corruptible body for the salvation of all of us. Of which Paul was confident, saying, ‘This corruptible must put on incorruption’ (1 Cor. 15:53).
The Lord too was sacrificed, that by His blood He might abolish death.
Full well did He once, in a certain place, blame those who participated vainly in the shedding of His blood, while they did not delight themselves in the flesh of the Word, saying, ‘What profit is there in my blood, that I go down to corruption?’ (Ps. 30/31:9).
This does not mean that the descent of the Lord was without profit, for it gained the whole world; but rather that after He had thus suffered, sinners would prefer to suffer loss than to profit by it.
For He regarded our salvation as a delight and a peculiar gain; while on the contrary He looked upon our destruction as loss.
[…] To us there came the solemn day [the Passover], in which we ought to call to the feast with a trumpet, and separate ourselves to the Lord with thanksgiving, considering it as our own festival.
For we are bound to celebrate it, not to ourselves but to the Lord; and to rejoice, not in ourselves but in the Lord, who bore our griefs and said, ‘My soul is sorrowful unto death’ (Matt. 26:38).
For the heathen, and all those who are strangers to our faith, keep feasts according to their own wills, and have no peace, since they commit evil against God.
But the saints, as they live to the Lord also keep the feast to Him, saying, ‘I will rejoice in Thy salvation,’ and, ‘my soul shall be joyful in the Lord.’
Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): Sixth Festal Letter, 1, 4, 7.