LIKE MINIATURE SENTINELS, the red-winged blackbirds were perched atop the fencerow brush ushering in the warmth of spring. The sight of them made me giddy. It has been an extremely long, cold and snowy winter where I live. And frankly, I am just plain tired of it. I am ready for winter to be over and spring to arrive.
When I taught in the Amish school, one of the children told me that they know spring has arrived when they see a red-winged blackbird. Each year around the end of February, I start to scan the roadside for red-winged blackbirds as I drive to work. I usually spot them in the early morning hours soaking up the sun. I was elated this week, especially after such a cold winter, when I spotted one lone red-winged blackbird perched on top of a small brush-like tree at the edge of a snow-covered field. The next morning, I was even more delighted to see not one, but many red-winged blackbirds stationed like little soldiers at their post every few hundred yards. I know that for them to be back in the area, spring has officially arrived. We may get a few more snow showers, but with spring knocking on winter’s back door, I can handle the cold a little longer.
I like spring because it brings new life. Spring is a time of rebirth. Daffodils and crocuses emerge from the cold hard ground scattering splashes of yellows, purples and whites against the dingy remains for winter. Colorful buds pop out on the grayed tree limbs clothing them in knobby splendor. A chorus of bird songs fills the air as they reunite with others after venturing north to their summer homes. Raccoons, skunks, and opossums are seen foraging around for food as they wake up hungry from their long winter naps.
Spring is also the time we celebrate new life in the Christian world. It is in March or April that Easter is observed. In the Christian world, Easter is a celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus allowed himself to be nailed to a cross as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins. When Jesus was buried in the tomb, our sins were buried with him. When He arose from the dead, He brought new life. When we give our lives to God through baptism, we are following Jesus’ example of dying to sin and being raised a new creation in Christ. If you have not experienced the feeling of being born a new person, you might consider it. To come up out of that water with slate wiped clean and a fresh new start brings unfathomable joy. It is a feeling for which there is no comparison. Starting afresh brings hope and healing. It brings eternal life where death holds no power.
And the best part is…..you don’t have to wait for winter to end. Your new life can start at any time!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you,” (1Peter 1:3-4, NIV)