Years ago, when we bought the Little Yellow House on the Hill, I didn't know that the little green bush on the edge of the driveway was a gift...until one day their pink and yellow blooms opened just when I needed them.
I soon learned this winter-happy plant is a Camellia, my favorite flower because she is the most beautiful when all the world is closing up. As temperatures drop and leaves fall; when suddenly, as if overnight, the world lacks colorful life, the Camellia "bursts into bloom" and is glad. She knows harsh weather and frozen earth won't be her end. She sits beneath the protection of a hardwood tree, her leaves green and hearty, flower-faces pressing toward the sun.
It would be enough, this little spot of encouragement, but our hill holds an abundance of flora favor.
There is also the Camellia Tree.
She lives close to the house, offering her brilliant blossom in the last weeks of winter.
The Camellias encourage me to push through to the promise of warmer, more colorful days.
Last winter, when we had storm after storm, more snow than I had seen in my lifetime, I prepared my heart for the worst. It was too much to hope for beautiful blossom on the Camellia tree when ice had frozen her limbs.
I was wrong.
Winter made her stronger. More vibrant and fruitful than ever.
There is hope in the winter... even when we think all is lost.
I want to be like the Camellia, facing winter with strength. Finding a place to thrive under the protection of the Tree of Life. Inspiring hope in those who walk through seasons of their own.
The Camellia is but a glimpse of the beauty and mercy of our Creator, who in the face of all the most beautiful things on earth, will remain the Loveliest of all lovely things, because He Himself is Love...
These little plants in my yard, here today and gone tomorrow, are but a shadow, but they do remind me of the Christmas story.
There is One who came to us, on the coldest of nights, through the deadliest of winters, in the darkest of seasons... to all people. Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Jesus Christ, Savior.
We can lift our faces upward and see the beauty in our winter because He is living Hope: yesterday, today, forever.