Large flakes of snow are falling as I write this editorial. It’s Monday of the third week in February, and much of the country is dealing with record-low temperatures and winter storms. Very few people on our street have left home for the past 24 hours, so the roads and driveways in our neighborhood are blanketed with undisturbed snow.
This week also marks the beginning of Lent, the time during which we anticipate and prepare for Easter. As I contemplate Christ’s death and resurrection, I think about the now-pristine snow. In time, the smooth blanket of snow covering the lawns, driveways and sidewalks will be rumpled by low mounds of snow pushed to the side by shovels wielded by those determined to find the walkways beneath. Fluffy snow burying the streets will be compressed as vehicles leave their tracks. As temperatures rise, the glittering snow will be splattered by dirty slush and spoiled by muddy footprints. It might not happen today but at some point, the beauty and perfection of the fresh snow will be spoiled and ruined. And no matter what we do, we will not be able to restore it.
The same can be said of sin. God’s creation was perfect, but sin entered the Garden of Eden and ever since our world and all of mankind has been marred and damaged by sin. And no matter what we do, we cannot undo the ways in which sin and evil destroy. A miraculous intervention is the only way this mess can be fixed. That’s what Easter is—God’s wondrous restoration.
The amazing mystery is that God’s restoration plan is accomplished by something that would normally stain—the shedding of blood. That is the wonder and mystery of Easter. That God so loved the world that he sent his only Son who he loved very much to die on a cross and to save us. That when we accept God’s gift, we are restored so that when God looks at us, he sees us as clean, perfect and unblemished.
This issue of the Christian Leader focuses on our family relationships. As in all of life, our family relationships—which we hope will be faultless and pristine—can be distorted and broken. And it is beyond our power to fix them. But as you spend time with your family during the season of Lent and as you consider the wonder and mystery of the event that Easter celebrates, remember that God can redeem and restore family ties strained by hurts, disappointments and wounds. May we all experience the transformation of Christ’s cleansing blood and the power of his resurrection.
Connie Faber joined the magazine staff in 1994 and assumed the duties of editor in 2004. She has won awards from the Evangelical Press Association for her writing and editing. Faber is the co-author of Family Matters: Discovering the Mennonite Brethren. She and her husband, David, have two daughters, one son, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and one grandson. They are members of Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas.