Despite the snow flurries of last week and the frost of a few days ago, I believe that spring is finally here. Some of the telltale signs include the trees budding up with leaves, the grass being in desperate need of mowing, and the toy bulldozers and excavators making roads and digging dirt in my freshly plowed garden. All of these things combine to ignite a desire within me to clean up the yard debris and burn all of the garbage that somehow accumulates during a winter like the one from which we just emerged.
So we spent Saturday morning cleaning the house yard and barnyard of “stuff.” That amalgamation included pallets broken by the weight of round hay bales, old fence posts and empty soda bottles – the preferred chew toy of our Rottweiler mix. It also included the branches and twigs that had blown down from the trees in recent weeks, and was rounded out by an old doghouse that had come with the same Rottweiler but has proven unnecessary.
Everyone got in on the act. The oldest kid scooped up bark and wood chips from in front of the wood shed. My youngest gathered up the toys that had finally melted out of the snow and put them away. My middle child took rocks from the yard either to the driveway or the grape arbor, as their size determined sensible. Then it spread to the lower barnyard when my husband brought debris from there, as well. After awhile, both yards looked fresher, and I felt better.
I always enjoy the renewal that comes with spring. I love the process of cleaning things and seeing how fresh and spotless they can be. And I especially love it when it happens around Easter.
I love it because, for me, Easter symbolizes renewal. It is the season that Jesus accepted the punishment for all of the world’s sin upon his shoulders. It is the day that all of the prophecies of the Old Testament about Jesus came true. It is the day that Jesus rose from the grave and triumphed over death.
On that day, man was given the opportunity to renew himself through Jesus’ loving sacrifice. He was given the opportunity to acknowledge his shortcomings, repent of his wrongdoing, and be reconciled to God.
This gift was not just for those who personally knew Jesus. Like my yard cleanup spread from the house yard to the barnyard to the lower barnyard, Jesus’ sacrifice spread from his disciples, to all of the Jewish towns and people, and then to all of the people of the world. It is for everyone who will accept it.
And while my yard cleanup will need repeating (knowing these kids, probably by next month), Jesus’ sacrifice only needs to be accepted once. Then we can simply live our lives in gratitude to him, repent when we make mistakes and share this news with others.
Nothing can compare to how refreshed this gift makes me feel.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.