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It was the end of one of the coldest winters on record. Freeze followed upon freeze until it seemed that spring might never come.  All of the desert plants, unaccustomed to such biting temperatures, had shed their leaves in desperate attempts to stay alive. For me too, it had been a winter of weathering bitter storms and of being stripped bare. Finally, the aching cold abated, but still the trees wore nothing but emaciated branches. The calendar announced spring, but the landscape lay unresponsive under the pall of winter.

One day, when it seemed I had forgotten what the color green looked like, I noticed tiny pearls on the ends of the tree branches. They were brilliant green, like green fire, and they awoke an indescribable hope within me. Each day I observed with exultation the burgeoning green softness that covered the naked branches, imbuing them with fresh, youthful beauty. If the trees, after the vicious cold of winter, could grow anew and be re-clothed in robes of leafy splendor, what hope of new growth might await me in the days to come?

My children met me at the door last Sunday with excited smiles, “Mom! Mom! We saw a rainbow tonight!” “I know! I saw it too!” I replied. We shared the joy of witnessing the wonder of a vivid rainbow stretched across grey skies. My youngest remembered the story from her recent Sunday School lesson, of how Noah saw the rainbow as he and his family left the ark, and how they built an altar to worship God and to thank Him for saving them from the flood of His wrath.

My heart swelled with gratitude that I too could join the age-old chorus of thanksgiving for salvation—salvation from sin, from fear, from hopelessness, from darkness, from despair. Thanksgiving that the travail of the winter of this world will one day break into spring, a glorious, unending Spring of the kingdom of our Lord, where every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more sorrow or death or pain.  In that kingdom we will be clothed with the most beautiful robes imaginable—with the righteousness of our Savior.

I remembered how the rainbow is the sign of God’s promise never to flood the entire world again, and that along with keeping that promise, He keeps that even greater promise—that of providing a Savior. I rejoiced that God is not slow in keeping His promise, and that in Christ, all His promises are Yes and Amen. I marveled that these promises were not just for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; that God’s covenant of salvation extends into the harried information age of the 21st century where you and I stand today facing an onslaught of post-modern materialism and nihilism. That to “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

When the nights are long and dark and the winter is bitterly cold, remember the Promise and have hope, knowing that Spring is just around the corner.

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