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Springtime is my favorite season. Darkness is shrinking as light rapidly lengthens. Nature seems to be awakening after the long sleep of winter. Trees that for months have appeared dead are sending forth new shoots. Berry canes standing like silent sentinels give way to delicate blossoms. These are just a few of the many signs of God's gracious gift of new beginnings.
I find similar gifts of new beginnings in the rhythm of life. Many, along with myself, have experienced the chilling winter winds of life. It makes us want to pull in, hibernate, merely exist, like a tree whose leaves have fallen before impending winter. But thank God for the springtime of new beginnings. He opens new doors, ushers in fresh relationships and instills new purpose as a totally unearned gift leading us to new beginnings.
The hallways of history are adorned with the pictures of new beginnings: A maligned, imprisoned Joseph is delivered from prison to become an instrument of God to provide for a famine-stricken people; a religious zealot, Saul, becomes a missionary of the Christ he earlier persecuted; a Dostoyevsky is pardoned from a firing squad to begin new writings; a mother of young children is changed from a life of just-getting-by to one which reflects God's touch in new purpose permeating the entire family.
God is the giver of new beginnings. The raising of Jesus Christ from the dead is the greatest of new beginnings. He then is the One who gives us new beginnings. II Corinthians 5 declares, "If anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation; the old is passing away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself ..." Just like taking a springtime walk, two steps are vitally important. First, the desire to leave the old with its past and pain. Second, to invite the Spirit of the Risen Christ to usher us into a newness of life.
How about reflecting a moment on your life! Can you identify the winters of your life, and then the springtimes of bursting new life and joy? Wherever you are today in the seasons of life, God has a new beginning prepared for you. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new." Thank God for the gift of new beginnings.
Dr. Paul Beran is pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Juneau