Hope has Sprung

For the first time in quite a while it is beautiful outside.  As I write the warm sun bears down starting to erase the white flaky remnants we have from this long and hard winter.  Like many people I love summer with the crack of bats, the smell of a Wisconsin bratwurst, and the refreshing feel of a lake or pool.  Winter on the other hand is an annoyance to me in anything other than small doses.  These facts are exactly why the first warm day has always filled me with hope; it is a sign of new life springing forth out of winter’s gloom.  The past few years I have come to see spring as an illustration of the Christian life heading from the darkness of winter into the joy of summer.

C.S. Lewis aptly portrayed the fallen world as a world in constant winter in his Chronicles of Narnia series.  In the beginning God made everything perfect and beautiful but when Eve took that first bite of the forbidden fruit that perfection is corrupted with rot and death.  Men became separated from God under judgment that day in Eden and much like the barren trees and bitter cold of winter, the fall brought misery and pain.  In certain parts of the planet the only creatures to be seen in winter are scavengers who survive off of finding any creature from the summer and destroying it; in Eden we became those scavengers and evil humanity began to make this fallen world worse and worse perpetually to this day.  Apart from Christ, the winter would only get colder and colder as none of us would ever be able to save ourselves.

It is wonderful to celebrate the birth of Christ in the heart of winter, for the incarnation is a tale of how God entered into humanities dark winter and became the only person able to earn salvation.  On the cross Jesus took on that winter as he stood in our place and took the punishment that we deserve in our place.  Jesus rose from the dead in spring and his resurrection would point to a new and better eternal summer that he had won for us.  Even though Jesus deserved summer for himself, he took on the coldest winter so that we might receive the beautiful summer only he deserves as he stood condemned in our place and now we stand counted with his righteousness.  When we die as Christians we will enter into something greater than even Eden; God has saved us to return to the summer so long lost.

It is easy to realize that the Christian life is anything but that glorious summer we await.  Though we await the summer we are born again unto, we have not fully seen our salvation for this life’s winter and death.  We are not fully saved yet in this Christian life, we still experience the pains and judgment on this fallen world.  As many theologians would say; though we have been saved when we were born again, we are continuing to be saved, and one day we will be finally saved.  The Christian life is a sample of the warmth of summer and it is the breaking away from life’s dead winter; the life of a Christian is the spring of life.  That moment we first come to Christ is like the first warm day of the year; starting that day things begin to look more and more like summer and less and less like winter.  Growth in the Christian life moves us forward to our heavenly summer home and our lives will progressively appear like that beautiful summer even amidst the darkness and death.  In the Christian life it would not be accurate to say everything is repaired from the fall, but it is getting better as the Holy Spirit moves us towards our great Canaan.  Spring is kind of a diet Summer and so this Christian life may have suffering but it is a diet version of God’s great kingdom in the new heavens and new earth.  Christians have hope and non-Christians be prepared for before long spring will make way into summer and this life of pain and suffering will be no more.

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