The calendar has caught up with the snow cover, and today is the first day of winter—also the last day of the year to have so little light! Darkness ushers us indoors before dinnertime; may we be encouraged to devote longer evening hours to searching the Lord’s stillness. Enjoy an excerpt from God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, from the weekly theme of Seasons in the Garden Stories section, for such a time as this!
I have decided to winter there.
Titus 3:12 NIV
Read: Titus 3:12
Thicken the Plot: 1 Kings 19:12; Psalm 107:29; Philippians 4:5
Winter slows the pace of the gardener and gives us time to reflect on all we have experienced in the mad dash from spring to fall. We spend wintertime among family and friends, as Paul decided to stay with his friends (Titus 3:12), and do our best to come together for the holidays. Yet there are many still and quiet moments to be had, a “time of year to appreciate” singular beauties, seeing God draw near in the clear winter light.
This is the time of year to appreciate the beauty of a single plant or flower. Any flower that blooms in winter is a rarity, and will merit closer inspection than it would later in the year, when abundance rules. The best winter light is clear, bringing cut-glass definition to stems and leaves . . . This clarity has the effect of focusing the eye on simple features.
— Mary Keen, Gardening with Color, 1991
One gardener told this story:
A chilly morning run brought me to a sheltered place of prayer, a small overlook opening onto a frost-covered golf course. After pounding the pavement with my troubles, my exhaustion in this frequented spot brought me to be still (Psalm 46:10). There, I noticed God’s quietness, his holiness. Not in an exciting or goosebumpy way, but as a gentleness that surrounded me and seemed to fill the air. In the aloneness I was not alone; the emptiness was full of the Lord. The quietness rejoiced and the winter morning glowed with his presence. How else can I express it? Is this what is meant by his Word, “The Lord is near”? (Psalm 145:18, Philippians 4:5). O Lord, help me remain aware of you.
Giddy yet speechlessly wondering, stilled yet ready to move, I walked silently back home and through the front yard. The annuals were frozen and shriveled, the perennials bowed over in retreat, the trees bare-branched, let in muted sunlight that barely warmed. Yet treasures remained in this winter garden; even in the cold temperature of this December day, a few roses were still blooming. I spied a huge, frilly ‘Peace’ blossom! Urgent business waited at my desk, phone and inbox, but I stole just a moment more to fetch the pruners and bring these last beauties inside. The Lord had whispered peace to me, his touch of promise in a pale winter morning, his affection in a white flower delivery out of season.
Prayer: O Lord, thank you for your gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12) and the reminder in this moment of the simple truth that you calm storms (Psalm 107:29; Mark 4:39).
Enjoy devotions on all of the Seasons in the Garden Stories section of God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, beginning on page a-42
Photo Credit: ©2016 Shelley S. Cramm
Lovely, peaceful message for a chilly winter morning.