the fresh burst of spring is my favorite time of year. I live in an area where the hilite of spring is the Tulip Festival. As pictured above, the spring flowers are in full blossom. My favorite flower of all is the tulip, as it reflects back to my Dutch roots. The variety and texture of tulips always astounds me each time I get up close and personal with them in April.
There is a lot of symbolism around this season. Lambs and bunnies, eggs and baskets, crosses and crowns of thorns, all describe and witness to a season of endings and new beginnings. It is not all sacred, much of the celebration is secular. And I love it all.
For three months, the ground has been frozen, holding on to the life buried beneath, just waiting for the time to begin to burst above ground. It is as if those flowers just can’t wait for the ooohs and ahhhs awaiting them.
Not unlike the burial and resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate over Easter weekend. As the winter temperatures freeze out the flowers, so did sin freeze out the life of Jesus. He took all of our sin to the cross and all of our sin was buried there with him. And three days later, we celebrate the Halleluiah of His resurrection, telling us there is hope and new life available. We no longer remember the winter for the spring has come.
New life means new hope. Eggs are new life that eventually becomes a chicken. Lamb is new life that eventually becomes a Sheep. And Jesus is the new life that represents our opportunity to become His child and grow into the fullness of what He created us to be.
What does that fullness look like? What exactly is this hope, this new life, about? And why do we celebrate it so exuberantly?
Resurrection means death did not win. Jesus did not die, and that was the end of it. Those perennials you planted didn’t die, they came back to life under the right conditions. There would be no hope for us if Jesus had not resurrected. He would have been just another man, another teacher, another disappointment. All that He had done on earth, all of the miracles and brilliant words, would have been equal to the likes of Muhammed or Buddha. One united faith would have seemed logical.
But what God did through Jesus defies logic and changes everything. We who believe in Jesus who died and rose know that we have access to something no one of any religion has. It is not a religion, it is a relationship with the one who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
Now when I see those tulips reaching up to heaven from out of the ground, I don’t complain of the secularization of Easter. I rejoice that we can find God in every part of the holidays because He was there first. He enjoys those tulip fields too, and he would probably love hard boiled and decorated eggs. For they are a reminder of the beginning of hope.