Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream. – Barbara Winkler
As I am writing this in late January, I am looking out over lightly snow-covered rooftops: it is definitely still winter. Yet, despite the snow and the cold, the mornings are slowly getting lighter; notwithstanding the forecasted snow, I know that the first snowdrops and daffodils will soon announce the change of the season.
In many ways, it is an apt image for our faith: often buried under a cloak of doubt and bewilderment, we know that we have seen and will seen glimpses of what God is like. Although we cannot see it now, somewhere growth is happening; and we will have to wait until it is ready for us to be noticed.
Last week, I was asked to speak about ‘Gardens’ in the Christian faith. Possibly the most obvious one that comes to mind is the Garden of Eden: paradise, the place where Adam and Eve showed what human nature is like. That first act of disobedience made it impossible to stay in paradise, and our relationship with God was changed forever.
However, the garden was also where that very relationship between God and people was restored: when Mary sees the risen Christ and, blinded by her tears, supposes Him to be the gardener. However, maybe it is not too bad a way of thinking of God as a gardener Himself: the one who plants and prunes; the one who looks after His creation and sustains us, even though we cannot always see it.
In a world where science has taught us to go an find out for ourselves, it is not easy to trust that which we cannot see, and even harder to make our lives completely dependent on that faith. Yet, the image of the garden shows that at times this is what we need to do: if we start digging the snow and the soil now to look for daffodils, we will find the bulb, but not the flower. We need to be patient and trust – at times.
So maybe something to reflect on this month, as we see the snow-covered or bare soil, and wait for those first signs of spring: what is the miracle that God may hold for us? What is it that lies under our cloak of winter, and nurtures our dream?