December in my part of the world is cold, grey, and wet. Any hint of colour or life in the garden has long since been swept away on the autumn winds or has succumbed to the frost. Just outside our back door is a climbing rose which during summer boasts an abundance of flowers that scramble majestically up the wall of the house and around the door in a stunning pink display. But now in winter’s chilly embrace, all that remains of this seasonal glory is a few soggy, frail yellow leaves on the ground, fallen from bare stems that cling to the wall in the fierce winter wind.
Yet at the top of this climber, stretching up to the second storey just outside our bedroom window, there is a brand-new single rose, reaching heavenward in all its tender pink glory, bobbing securely in the breeze on a healthy green stem with fresh leaves and perfect petals! A flawless flower that seems so out of place against the grey landscape of winter, standing tall and strong amid rain and storm.
As I marvelled at this unexpected gift, blooming so beautifully against the odds in the middle of the ‘wrong’ season, and proudly displaying so much life and colour, I sensed that this was truly a token of love and inspiration from our heavenly Father. In the midst of the busy-ness of life, work and Christmas preparation through the dull days and long nights, here was a perfect rose, offered by the Creator Himself to remind us morning and evening that there is still colour and joy to be found in the harder seasons of life. New life is always possible despite the odds when in the hands of a God who is above scientific and natural law! There is hope for the dark days and the longest nights and there is strength to be found in the winters of life.
I smiled at the position of the rose, reaching heavenward, standing firm, blooming fearlessly and sharing God’s glory despite the barrenness of life around it. As these thoughts drifted across my mind, I heard the whisper of the One who offered this unique gift:
“This rose is like you,”He said, “You provide colour amid the greys of life as do all my children, because you reflect my image and glory (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 60:1). You too can be bold and beautiful even when storms rage around you, because I am with you (Philippians 4:13). As this rose gives me glory and is a gift in all seasons, so are you. Just as this rose stands firm in this season where little else blooms, so must you at times, but I am the vine and you are the branch, attached to me, rooted and grounded in my love (John 15:5; Ephesians 3: 16-18) You are never alone (Deuteronomy 31:6) You are like the stem which remains fresh and green with leaves that will not wither (Psalm 1:3) yielding beauty in all seasons (Ephesians 2:10). As this rose was created to share my glory, so it is with you. You were made to share my glory dear child, so continue to bloom where I have placed you. Continue to stand alone where I have called you to do so, remembering that I am with you. Continue to reflect my beauty. Continue to share light and colour where it is lacking in this broken world. Continue to remember that nothing is impossible for me, for I am above all natural and scientific law. Reach heavenward and look to me as you remain in me and I in you. For you, like this rose, were created to bring me glory.
May you stand firm and continue to be a blessing wherever you are in the world, in all seasons!
© Anne Herridge 2021