Somewhere in the world, people are throwing open their windows to greet the early morning sunshine of a new day. In that place, there are trees with fragrant blossoms spreading a sweet perfume upon the breeze. Baby birds are announcing their voracious hunger while they wait for mothers to fly to their nest with tender morsels. Ewes are giving birth to lambs against the backdrop of verdant, rolling hills. Somewhere in the world, itís springtime.
The adults in my life used to persistently encourage me to enjoy the present; saying that as I grew older, that time, like a sprinter in the last few yards of a grand race, would pick up pace and hasten on. Although Iíve miles to go before I reach lifeís finish line, Iím recognizing that I'm beginning to feel much like that sprinter. Christmases do seem to come a lot more closely together than they did as a child. Summer vacations that were once filled with lazy afternoons at the Oceanside, bare little resemblance to the hustle and bustle of the continuum of life that I can now scarcely identify as summertime. And birthdays-they come around so quickly that it seems as if Iíve just blown the candles from one cake, before the next one is appearing on the dining room table. Like a soldier on parade, time marches on to a cadence that seems to quicken with each passing year.
As with many things in life, there are universal properties that belong to the notion of time. We often begin our sentences when talking about these notions with, ďAs a general ruleÖĒ Behind every ďgeneral rule,Ē however, is an exception to that rule. January, February, and March, like oppositional children, show up to mess with our notions and tug on the beard of Father Time. I am reasonably certain that, one day, scientists will discover that the earthís rotation actually slows down during those three months of the year. Iím smiling now as I think on the pure foolishness of such a line of thought.
It seems, to me, as if the whole world just goes to sleep for three months of the year, and then tentatively emerges, like a somnolent bear coming forth from a long winterís nap. First, a hint of a tiny green shoot and then the melting away of the last trace of snow, signals the earthís lazy awakening and the gradual reemergence of life. Then, shaking off her last vestiges of slumber, her inhabitants splay their branches, as if to stretch heavenward toward the warm rays of the springtime sun. Gentle rains wash away the last of the dinginess of winter and leave their dewy drops to transform tender leaves into glistening shards of emerald-colored glass. Roots stretch and dig deep into the soil, greedily plumbing the riches of the soft earth.
When these things begin to happen, spring has finally come and that long interlude called winter becomes but a parenthesis in the cycle of life. Like a butterfly bursting forth from its cocoon, I impatiently tug at the sliding doors of my back deck and rush out into the morning sunlight to raise my face and drink in the warmth, and to celebrate the promise of new life. When the first tulip emerges from its slender stalk, Iím right there enthusiastically extolling its beauty and coaxing it to open wide unto its new world.
Iíve spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out why I am such a lover of this season of the year. It could be that it is a natural ďhighĒ for me. I know that the sunís rays rejuvenate me and that its penetrating heat, warms my human spirit. Then again, being a sensual person, I long to touch, hear, feel, and taste everything around me. I love to chew a blade of new green grass and savor its sweetness on my tongue. While hovering over the young blossoms in my flower garden, I anxiously await the glimpse of the first monarch butterfly. The sounds of natureís awakening gladden my heart and put a new spring in my step.
As another spring comes around, I see the design and intentionality of life unfolding all around me. While loosening the soil about each tender root, I am reminded that there is a Master Gardner, Whose unseen hands have tilled the earth before me. As with each season, the coming of spring heralds Godís purposeful plan for His creation. Even in the meadows, the birth of new lambs typifies the birth of one spotless lamb, Who was born in the winter of mankindís afflictions and gave His life so that hope might spring eternal for all who believe. The writer of Ecclesiastes has written these words:
ďTo everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is plantedÖHe hath made everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 11a).
Fall, winter, and summer all have their places in the cycle of life. But I believe that of all the seasons, springtime must be most dear to the Master Gardner's heart; for it signifies the beginning of all things new and typifies the new birth in Christ Jesus.
(Scripture reference is taken from the King James Version of the Bible)