You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Now all the Christmas decorations have been taken down everywhere looks a bit drab and dull. The holiday is over and the hum-drum day to day life must go on. There seems nothing to look forward to now until the Easter break and that is months away. Even the garden is in hibernation. But not everything there is asleep. This Christmas our son bought us a pure white Hellebore plant. The Hellebore is sometimes known as the Christmas rose or Lenten rose since it flowers during late winter and early spring. It is evergreen, surprisingly frost resistant and thrives happily in shady conditions. Just perfect for our garden!
The pure white of the Hellebore reminds us of the innocence of the Christ Child, the anniversary of whose birth we have just celebrated; the Child who was born into this world to bring peace and salvation.
To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:79 (NIV)
Perhaps it is apt that it should flower at this time when there seems so much fear, bitterness and trouble in the world since the fact that it flowers in the depth of winter reminds us that even in the deepest darkest moments when there seems to be no hope, God is there with us and within us.
By the time we get to Easter the pure white flower of the Hellebore will have died away to return again at Christmas next year to remind us once again of the innocent Christ Child; resurrection I suppose.
Over the past year I have found much spiritual inspiration from the garden. It seems that God reveals Himself not only in the heavy leather bound volumes of the Bible or in the thought-provoking and inspirational sermons of a brilliant speaker but in the simple plants and animals that inhabit my garden. Perhaps the message here then is that although we might consider ourselves unworthy or indeed simply not able to carry out God’s commission for us the simple hellebore and all his flowering cronies show that we can. The plants need God’s rain and sun to grow but they exhibit His glory in a stunning display. So with God’s help can we.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years