|But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
The other morning, I glanced out into the garden, and then looked again as something caught my eye. Yes, I had seen correctly. I put on my coat and shoes and headed out to see the plump, pearly white blooms of the Lenten Rose rising out of the earth. At first, I felt regretful – blooming now means that the winter winds and snow will damage this lovely plant and it will not bloom again later, as it should. Then I caught myself and thought why not? So many other things are not happening as they should – why not the Lenten Rose?
I looked again at these bold buds, resolutely making their way out of the earth and thought: perhaps this is meant to be. I stopped and reflected - no other plant is blooming on this early winter day. And how beautiful, gloriously beautiful it was to see something showing life in a garden put to bed for the winter. It seemed to be a sign from God I reflected, a gift to be enjoyed now, without worry. It is a sign of hope, of true and good and beautiful things present now and to come - an Advent Rose.
There are other signs of hope in the community. People putting up Christmas lights a little earlier this year and inflatables that you can not help but grin back at appearing on lawns. There is a collective sign of hope here before us, one I had not noticed until I looked again. While we wait, while we long for better things – around us there is hope. I encourage you to take a second look - do you see signs of hope you might have missed before?
Look again, and perhaps hum a tune when you do. Loreena McKennitt’s Snow comes to mind, her ethereal voice rising out of the gloom, here at this link.
Jim Harbell works as an occasional Spiritual Care Provider at Scarborough Health Network and is a full time student at Emmanuel in the Master of Divinity program.