There was a break in the sub-zero temperatures that had prevailed for multiple days. The sun finally came out and the temperature reached a balmy twenty-four degrees. Two best friends decided it was time to get out of their houses and explore. They bundled properly and headed for the river. Chunks of ice floated by as they plotted their path. At twelve years old nothing seems impossible and so they decided to cross the ancient log that lay across the flowing water. As the first boy fell he grabbed the second in hopes of regaining his balance, but in a matter of seconds they were both in the icy grip of the river.
A young army corporal home on leave also decided to cure his cabin fever that day. He heard the splash and quickly made his way to the scene. Without hesitation he dove in and brought both boys to safety. His training kicked in and he tended to both so that hypothermia was minimized. His commitment to their wellbeing was so thorough that he failed to take care of himself quickly enough. He died later the same day.
The two families were obviously grateful for the young man’s sacrifice. They soon learned that he was an only child home on leave to visit his father who lived alone. The two families initially spent time with the father offering any help they could in gratitude for the salvation he had provided their own sons. After the first year, however, the two families moved in different directions. The first family never stopped being grateful, but eventually life continued and they stopped going by as much. Ultimately, their tradition became once a year on the anniversary of the son’s sacrifice.
The second family handled it differently. They developed a very close relationship with the lonely father and made every effort to include him in all their family events. He became so much a part of the family that they even began to think of him as a grandfather. They were forever grateful for the gift that his son had given to them and they never wanted him to forget.
With Easter upon us, I think we consider God’s gift more now than any other time of year. There is a part of all who understand that His gift is incomprehensible and yet we all respond in different ways. I pray this Easter we will consider letting God know just how much we really do appreciate his sacrifice. I am hopeful that it turns into a closer relationship than we have known before. May this Easter be the beginning of a wonderfully new journey.