The Legends of Easter
The are many beantifnl Easter legends abont the
flowers which bloom in the spring. As people looked at these flowers and
thought about Easter, they made up stories to explain how the blossoms
related to the death of ]esus. Two of these legends are about the dogwood
and the lily.
Long, long ago, when Jesus walked
upon the earth, the dogwood tree was tall and proud. Its trunk was as
large around as an oak tree and its wood was hard and strong.
city of Jerusalem grew an especially lovely dogwood tree. When Jesus was to
be crucified, the Roman soldiers looked at the tree and decided it would
be just the right kind of wood for a cross. They cut down the tree and
made a cross for Jesus.
But the dogwood tree was very sad and ashamed to
be put to such a terrible use. Jesus knew the tree was very unhappy and he
felt sorry for it. He promised the dogwood that it would never again grow
large enough to be used as a cross. And then, to give the world a reminder
of the tree's history, Jesus gave it a very special blossom. This blossom
would be a sign of Jesus' death.
That is why the dogwood's four white
petals form the shape of a cross. On the outer edge of each petal there is
a dark red stain, as a reminder that Jesus was offered on the cross for
forgiveness of sins. And in the center of each bloom is a tiny crown of
In the Garden of Gethsemane, there
were many beautiful flowers, but the loveliest of all was the pure white
lily. The lily knew it was very beautiful, and it proudly lifted its head
to show itself to anyone who happened to pass by the garden.
On the night
before he was crucified, Jesus came into the quiet Garden of Gethsemane to
pray. As he prayed and wept there, the flowers of the garden bowed their
heads in pity and sorrow too. But the proud lily would not bow its lovely
white head. The next day, the lily discovered that Jesus was going to be
crucified. The flower felt so miserable about how it had acted in the
garden that it bowed its head in shame. To honor the Lord Jesus and to
show its sorrow, the lily has grown with a down-turned blossom ever since
that first Good Friday of long, long ago.