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After a few minutes, I looked over at my husband and noticed a tear running down his cheek. I asked him what was wrong. This time he told me, "I was just thinking about Pop and a story he had once told me." Of course, because it had to do with his Pop, I wanted to know the story, so I asked him to share it with me.
He said, "When I was about 8 years old, Pop and I were out fishing and that's when he told me that the Pine trees know when it is Easter."
I had no idea what he meant by that, so I pressed him for more information.
He continued on... "The Pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter... If you look at the tops of the Pine trees two weeks before, you will see the yellow shoots. As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross. By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the Pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots."
I turned to look out the window and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a week before Easter, and you could see all of the trees with the tall yellow shoots stretching to Heaven.
The tallest ones shone in the sunlight like rows of tiny golden crosses.
Many people are familiar with the legend of the dogwood tree that arose because of the appearance of its blossom:
Another fascinating legend is one that was told to me by a minister friend in Alabama who is a storyteller for the Cherokee. It centers around the staurolite crosses that are found in greatest abundance in a 50-acre tract at the top of Bull Mountain in Virginia.
Cherokee legend has it that the tears of the Cherokee when they heard about the crucifixion of Christ were turned into these small stone crosses. I don't know whether their legend originated before or after the introduction of Christianity to North America. However, the very existence of these little staurolite crosses makes one wonder if they are yet another message about the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
It brings to mind Jesus's words on what is now celebrated as Palm Sunday:
Luke 19:37-40 (King James Version)
37And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
But after the cross came the resurrection. Governor Palin eloquently expressed the hope that these two events brought to the world:
Some may wonder why we merrily celebrate at a time when we’re remembering Christ’s crucifixion on the cross. And there is something to that. Good Friday is, after all, about God who became Man, dying on the cross for our sins. And yet we celebrate Easter Sunday, and we are right to do so.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This one verse sums up the miracle that is the Easter season and helps explain the celebration. Yes, Christ died for us, but in the end Easter isn’t a season of sadness. Ultimately, the story of Christ’s rising from the dead three days after the crucifixion is the story of the triumph of hope over despair.