Finding Jesus in Springtime

Has He left His mark on you too?

Living and working in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains definitely has its ups and downs (pun intended). I spend several hours a day driving over these large hills and they really feel like home to me. I love to visit flat land but when I travel back to the mountains I have a cozy feeling of the mountains around me. They somehow comfort me and make me feel protected from the chaotic world outside.

Springtime here is for sure one of the ups of Eastern Kentucky living. God paints the hillsides with all different shades of green. The trees start out turning green at the bottom of the mountains, along the rivers and then work their way up the hillsides. The Redbud Trees start blooming with their ironically purplish blooms. Then as true springtime approaches my family’s favorite trees bloom: Dogwoods. They salt the sides of the mountains with long hanging branches of white blooms. When they appear, it’s as if a relief fills the air that winter is finally gone. They usually magically appear also within days of Easter.

Our last home was pretty far out in the county with several acres of land. In the backyard was a small and scrawny dogwood tree. Several winters we would think that the tree would not make it. Year after year it would bloom even though it seemed there was no way. That tree became very important to our oldest daughter after I shared with her the legend of the Dogwood tree. My mom had shared it with me and I have read about it now in several different places. There is no Biblical backing to this legend but I would like to share it with you in case you are not familiar.

Here is my summarized version of the legend:

The legend states that the Dogwood was not always a slender tree with lots of branches and a skinny trunk. The Dogwood was a large and strong tree and was used to crucify Jesus. The Dogwood was saddened by this and Jesus decided to bless the tree to never be used to crucify anyone again. The flowers that bloomed would be shaped like a cross and have dents in the petals that look like a nail had been driven in. From the nail dents the flowers appear to be stained with the blood of Jesus. In the center is a “crown of thorns”. I will also add that the flowers are white which I believe represents the purity of Christ.

Whether any of this legend is true there is no denying the similarities of the petals to what is described above. We do not know if the dogwood is the same type of tree that Jesus was crucified upon. It is extremely suspicious also that they bloom when we celebrate Easter.

The one thing that this legend reminds me the most of is it that Jesus has left His mark on these flowers. Maybe He has given us these flowers as a reminder each year of the true meaning of Easter.

This has made me think about my own outward appearance/actions to others. Is it evident that Jesus has left his mark on me? As a Christian do others sense this about me? I may not wear blood stained petals like the Dogwood Tree does, but do people realize that I believe in the power of His blood? I may not have nail dents, but do others fully know that I believe in His resurrection? I do not wear a crown of thorns in public like the Dogwood Tree, but do I present myself differently now that I am His?

I re-dedicated my life to Him several years ago. I have really had to work and continue to work on my relationship with Him. I hate to admit it, but when I first turned my life to Him I thought that was enough. I did the minimum amount of “Christian-like” things. I didn’t do this on purpose. I just thought that I didn’t need to put any work into being a Christian. Boy, was I wrong. These are things that the enemy wanted me to think. By God’s grace I made it through those years and finally decided to work at being a better Christian.

These blooms on the Dogwood have not only reminded me this year of what Jesus sacrificed for me but what I need to sacrifice to grow to be more like Him. The Dogwood naturally is a reminder to those around of His love. I need to continue to work on my own appearance/actions to show His love through me.

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

I hope that the next time you see a Dogwood you are reminded of Christ’s love and to show His love through you! Have a BLESSED day!

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