I was recently discussing how this would be the first Christmas in over ten years that we have no pets in our home for the holidays.
We would always debate if our cat “Lucky” had been naughty or nice even as he precariously tried to become one with the Christmas tree within weeks of claiming us as his own.
That same year, my Shetland sheepdog was a Christmas gift from my husband, quickly renamed Noel to suit the occasion. We lost them both this year. I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss them this Christmas season.
Christmas is not a joyful time for many.
The holiday season can accentuate grief, spark depression and bring about a range of emotions, many of which we would rather not deal with.
I lost my father one Christmas.
This Christmas will be a first for those grappling with loss and barely hanging in there just trying to get through the season.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Expecting those who are hurting to be joyful is unrealistic. We can’t always understand someone’s pain, but we can certainly respect it. At the very least, we can extend peace and good will toward them.
Hopefully, the pain eventually wanes. Or perhaps, our tolerance for it becomes greater.
So what does this have to do with roses?
We are experiencing unusually mild weather. This allowed me to clean up the skeletal remains of summer.
And then I saw her.
She was atop the retaining wall as I snapped dead branches from a hydrangea.
“Marie” sat comfortably trying to figure out just what exactly I was doing.
Now, I may be just one cat shy of the crazy cat lady on the corner, (and yes, I live on the corner!) but I haven’t seen any snakes so I figure it’s a fair trade. Regardless, I enjoyed Marie’s company and I suspect she enjoyed mine.
As I finished, I noticed the rose blooming.
We’ve already had one freeze so “technically” it should have stopped blooming by now.
Yet, God will occasionally remind me that He is not moved by any calendar. He provides streams in the desert. Roses in the winter?
Marie filled my void today.
God can provide a bit beauty in the bleak. And sometimes when we feel we can’t hold on, God brings a bit of spring to us.
Unexpectedly. And with Love.
If you’re hurting this Christmas season, may spring find you soon…
Peace to you.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV