My young son, looking out the window at dark dead trees against a foggy gray sky, uttered this profound question, “What is it about winter that causes so many flowers to bloom in spring?”

If a person visited earth in winter, he would have no idea that in a few short weeks, this drab stark habitation would be transformed.

Green fuzzy soft leaves pop from dark dead stalks of wood until you can hardly see the bright blue sky. Lush carpets of grass cover the lands, providing food for deer and soft landing for squirrels and rabbits. And flowers—splashes of color that run the rainbow spectrum appear like magic.

What is it about winter? Well, it’s death. Death brings all that life.

The living must give of itself. It dies to release the life within. Leaves die to release nutrients into the soil and provide protection for new growth. Seeds die to release sprouts cased within their shells. By dying, everything gets to live again.

That’s what Jesus did for us, isn’t it? He died voluntarily so we could live.

And that’s what He asks us to do—lay down our lives for others. He calls us to serve and honor. Care for the sick and needy. Put aside our wants and desires.

But Jesus didn’t just die. He also came to life again! And when we die to our own desires, our lives are rewarded with the yieldings of a spiritual spring!

It doesn’t take a trip to Africa or Asia to fulfill this call. The principle applies to every home, even (and especially) in marriage. A spouse is first a brother or sister in Christ. Our children are the next generation of the Church.

So, at home, let us forgive. Let us our rights to justice die. Let us give grace to each other, just as God generously gives, even when it’s not returned. And let us serve our spouses, setting our own wants aside, as Jesus served us.