May is a month of renewal

May is a month of renewal  in our gardens

First bloom of springSpring rains nourish the ground as the first flowers of the season peek out from the warming soil. May is a month of renewal. Temperatures gently rise, trees bear their buds, flowers blossom, and wildlife becomes more active. Even in the most urban areas, the signs of spring abound.

Perennials emerge stronger and heartier than they were the previous spring. Sprouts and shoots grow rapidly in these fertile conditions. The sun bends closer to the earth, its rays infusing heat and light into verdant leaves. The awakening earth awakens us as well. We are drawn outside.

Lawn and garden careAs May leaves the memory of cold April days behind, it is a great time for safely planting annuals. The threat of frost has passed. The ground is warm and ready to receive new plants. Annual plantings add colorful interest and flexibility to the constancy of perennials. Begonias, petunias, geraniums, or the more shade-tolerant marigolds and impatiens all add color and texture to beds, borders, and pots. Replanting every year means that you can always try something new, even in a well-established garden of perennials and shrubs.

May is a month we remember our fallen heroes

Flag at HorizonIt is appropriate in this season of warming temperatures, gentle rains, and vibrant growth that we also pause to remember what we have lost. On the last Monday in May, beginning officially in 1971 but dating all the way back to the Civil War, we remember our fallen heroes – those men and women who have bravely laid down their lives in service to our country.

Memorial Day is marked by ceremonies, parades, picnics, and barbeques. This day of remembrance is best honored when it touches both the solemn and the festive. Those who died did so that we may have the freedom to celebrate. We are thankful for their sacrifice. We gather in gratefulness for our freedom and everything that it means – our lives, our liberty, and the ability to pursue our own happiness. And we gather to commemorate their lives – taken too soon, but given bravely and sacrificially in service to our country. We honor their memory.

The brave sacrifice of our service men and women reflects the perfect sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He came not to set us free from the tyranny of governments, nations, and despots, but the tyranny of the sin within our own hearts. In doing so, He was not defending His own cause or country. He was defending us, who by our sin are enemies of His holy, perfect Father. His death and resurrection cancels our sin and reconciles us to God. This year, on this solemn and festive Memorial Day, may we remember those who died to keep us free for life and put our hope in the One who died to make us free for eternity.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13