Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
November, the month of remembrance, some say the month of gratitude, which is understandable for we remember with gratitude the lives and actions, the examples set by those who have gone before us, is passed. Now we enter the period of anticipation, of expectation for Advent is a time when we look forward to celebrating the birth of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour; a new life, a new beginning.
Right on cue the holly bush on the back fence has produced her blood red berries which will sustain the birds throughout the harsh winter to come whilst her sharp thorns will deter those seeking to steal her fruit. (It is only the female holly bush which bears berries). As proof of the abundance of God’s glory there is enough holly left for us to make wreaths to hang on the door at Christmas. Do be careful not to scratch yourself on the thorns, though.
So the holly bush provides us with the message for this week.
As her berries provide food for the birds during winter so the body of Christ will sustain us through the long winter of our life on this earth for as Jesus said:
And Jesus said unto them, ‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst’. John 6:35 KJV
Likewise, the holly’s thorns will draw blood – red, the same colour as the berries. And in that blood we find an echo in the story of the Last Supper when Jesus said:
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink ye all of it;
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ Matthew 26: 27-28 KJV
Further, they remind us of the crown of thorns placed on Our Saviour’s head at his Crucifixion. But why, at this time do I talk of the events of the latter days of Jesus’ life on earth? Are we not awaiting the Birth of Christ rather than His Death? Of course we are but since the one inevitably leads to the other so by His death we are washed clean of our sins and by His resurrection we are enabled to take our place in the Eternal Kingdom. Neither His death nor His resurrection would have been possible without His birth. It is that resurrection, our resurrection, that we anticipate at Advent
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years