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ALYCE FAYE BRAGGThe voice of spring is awakening the land after the long, cold sleep of winter. She whispered first to the songbirds, and they gathered their flocks together to return to our hills. Each morning, they greet the breaking of the day with their joyous and melodic songs of praise. She tenderly touches the tips of the tree branches, which hung dead and barren through the winter, and the buds begin to swell and turn green.

The violets heard her soft voice and began stirring underground to thrust their tiny blue flags upward as a banner of victory over winter's death grip on the land. She caressed the fields and meadows with light fingers, and tender green grass sprung up at her touch.

Yellow dandelions, like miniature balls of sun, heard spring's call and emerged through the green grass to shine with their own special glow. At her bidding, the forsythia bloomed in a shower of gold, and the peach trees burst into a cloud of pink blossoms. Tiny woodland flowers came up through the once dead and dormant earth, and early mushrooms began to appear in woodsy places.

Spring turns the sun's heat up a few more degrees, and new life begins to appear where snow and ice so recently reigned. The miracle of life, springing out of the dead ashes of winter, occurs once more.

Everywhere there is new life and new growth. Out in the barn lot, young colts frolic and play; baby calves stretch out in the warm sunshine and sleep while their mothers graze nearby. Wooly lambs cry after their placid mothers, and the air is full of the sounds of spring.

Solomon described the coming of spring in this manner, "For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell." (Song of Solomon, 2:11-13)

Spring was a perfect time for the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When Jesus made his advent, the world lay in a state of spiritual darkness and was held in the cold and deadly grip of sin. Hope was as dead as winter in its most dormant state, and mankind was steeped in superstition, idolatry, and paganism. For over 400 years, the prophets of God were silent. The world lay in utter darkness.

Then, in the fullness of time, God sent forth his son to be the Redeemer of mankind and the Mediator between God and man. His coming was predicted from the foundation of the world. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John1:1) What hope He brought to a hopeless world!

He came to do His Father's will, and when that was accomplished, He tried to prepare his followers for his coming death on the cross. He was the sacrificial Lamb without spot or blemish, and He bore our sins in His own body on the cross that we might be redeemed. His disciples and followers could not understand, and they saw their beloved Master taken by cruel hands and put to death on Calvary.

It must have been the darkest day of their lives. The disciples had forsaken all they had and followed Him. Hope was as dead as the bleakest day in winter, when it seems that spring will never come.

They witnessed His body being taken down from the cross and saw where He was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Heavy of heart, grief-stricken and despondent, His disciples scattered. Only the women, who had followed and ministered unto Him, were burdened to do the last task they could perform for Him. They desired to anoint His body with sweet spices.

How long the Sabbath day must have seemed, as they waited and grieved among themselves. On the first day of the week, they were so eager to do this last thing for Him that they arose while it was yet dark. I can feel them shiver in the early-morning chill, as the made their way to the tomb, bearing their spices and ointments. They wondered among themselves who would roll the stone from the door of the sepulcher, for it was very great.

They reached the sepulcher at the rising of the sun and found that the great stone was rolled away. Hope must have revived in their hearts when the angel said unto them, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen!"

Their long winter of bleakness and despair was over, and hope, like the springtime, had returned to their hearts. My heart was once as cold and dead as winter, but when Jesus forgave my sins and spoke peace to my troubled soul, new life burst forth like the buds in spring.

Oh, glorious day! His mission on earth was finished, and the plan of salvation was complete. He opened the door of redemption, that each person might have access to eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

This is a rejoicing season, and those who know Jesus as a personal Savior can say, "He lives! Because he lives, I can live also!"


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