Friday, December 16, 2011

"The Rose I Have In Mind"

"It came a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night."

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.

If I am not careful, I can be driven by the changing of cold and bitter winds, my heart wandering into places of despair. It is in these moments I'm prone to ponder: will winter never end?

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.


Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

(15th Century Carol)


Gretchen said...

What an incredible post, my friend. There's a lot of Camelia within you. And the Holy Spirit so present in your words. xxxooo

His Girl said...

*sigh* beautiful.