So there was no competition for the right photo for this post - it just had to be snowdrops! Never mind that - thanks to earlier mild weather - the first ones were peeping through three or four weeks ago: NOW is their season, their favourable time; this month they begin to open up, displaying their green hearts, the promise of greenness to come. They may be tiny, but just the sight of them can lift our spirits, heralding the eventual arrival of spring, even in the rawest, darkest of winter days.
There is a legend that Adam and Eve sat outside the Garden of Eden, in barren, desolate wintertime, miserably remembering the lush greenery and gorgeous, bright flowers they had lost forever. An angel in heaven looked down, saw Eve weeping and came down to comfort her. As the angel spoke to Eve a snowflake fell on her hair. The angel took it in his hand. "Look, Eve, this little flake of snow shall change into a flower for you. It shall bud and bring forth blossoms for you!" As he spoke, the angel placed the snowflake on the ground at the feet of Eve, whereupon it immediately sprang up as a beautiful little flower. And Eve, seeing it, dried her tears and smiled with joy.
"Take heart, dear Eve", said the angel. "Be hopeful and do not despair: let this little snowdrop be a sign to you that the summer and sunshine will come again."
There is more to that legend than a little white flower; it speaks consolingly of hope and the assurance of God's tender, merciful love. All is not lost, not dark, even when it seems to be. And this month's quote, from II Thessalonians, maintains this theme of consolation and hope.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word (2.16).
Whether we are mourning paradise lost, or enduring winter gloom, may our shivering hearts receive and be gladdened by the comfort and strength they need.