How we appreciate those bright,Â multicoloured harbingers of spring! InÂ Ottawa alone, Canadaâ€™s capital city, overÂ a million tulips bloom each year. Such aÂ profusion of this particular spring flowerÂ in Ottawa, is a result of a kindness shownÂ over sixty years ago.
During the dark days of World WarÂ II, there was an urgent need for a havenÂ for the heir of the Dutch throne. So, inÂ June of 1940, Princess Juliana and herÂ family took up residence in Ottawa.Â They remained as guests until the end ofÂ the war.
In the Netherlands, starvation andÂ suffering continued to ravage theÂ country. By the winter of 1944-45 thereÂ was no electricity, no fuel, and very littleÂ food. In that last winter alone, 18,000Â Dutch people succumbed to starvation.Â In the spring of 1945 the CanadianÂ troops participated in the liberation ofÂ the Netherlands. Lasting bonds wereÂ created between the two countries.
After the war, the people of theÂ Netherlands sent 100,000 tulip bulbs toÂ Canadaâ€™s capital as a gift of appreciation.Â Princess Juliana sent another 20,000.Â Each year Ottawa still receives 20,000Â tulip bulbs from the Royal Family andÂ the Dutch Bulb Growers as a thank youÂ for sheltering the Royal Family and forÂ Canadaâ€™s help during WWII.
Almost two thousand years ago,Â another place of safety was providedÂ and another liberation was secured forÂ countless millions of people. BecauseÂ the first man, Adam, disobeyed God,Â the whole world was under the controlÂ and bondage of Satan. â€œJust as throughÂ one man sin entered the world, and deathÂ through sin, and thus death spread to allÂ men, because all sinnedâ€ (Romans 5:12). AÂ holy God cannot overlook sin. It mustÂ be punished. â€œBut He was wounded forÂ our transgressions, He was bruised for ourÂ iniquities; the chastisement for our peace wasÂ upon Him, and by His stripes we are healedâ€Â (Isaiah 53:5).
When the Lord Jesus Christ diedÂ on the cross, He bore the punishmentÂ for the sin of the whole world to Godâ€™sÂ eternal satisfaction. For those who repentÂ of their sins and accept His offer ofÂ salvation, He becomes the true LiberatorÂ and place of refuge from Godâ€™s wrathÂ against sin. Yet, relatively few haveÂ shown any appreciation or thanked GodÂ for His great love gift in the person ofÂ His Son. Have you? Have you acceptedÂ the Lord Jesus as your Saviour? He is theÂ greatest gift you can ever receive.
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