My first camellias have opened today! Spring is “March”-ing in. Early bees love these flowers for pollen and nectar; and they double their usefulness as a pretty place for a bee-kip. Tired bees burrow to the heart of the flower and sleep.
Purists might sneer at these camellias. Brown edges, rain damage, scars from the winds and frosts of February. If buying camellias for a posh bouquet, you’d look elsewhere for greenhouse-perfect blooms.
I rather like to think about the toughness of these survivors, starting early to spread cheer.
Yes, there is damage. But there’s also beauty. Without these first flowers, Spring would seem tardy. Having rich colour lights up the garden and lifts the spirit of visitors. As an early harbinger of hope, these camellias are well worth their place in the garden. Every year, they see out the harsh winter weather and emerge faithfully alongside the snowdrops and daffodils. (At this point you may start humming the Christmas carol “O come all you faithful” which inspired the dreadful pun in the title. Or not.)
Our world is going through quite a storm- from unpredictable weather through to the war in Ukraine (and several other countries not getting the same publicity!). As Christians, we are light-bringers, and peace-makers, and joy-carriers: it’s who we are because we walk with Jesus. Sometimes that means we pick up damage, scarred as our faithfulness is buffeted by aggressors and their violence. Hopefully we will still be beautiful- and harbingers of hope.
Peter chose to follow Jesus, and eventually was martyred for his faith. His letters of encouragement remind us that though this world is a damaging experience (as well as a wonderful one) God is able to achieve something even more beautiful through our lives of faith. Perfection will rise from the bruised petals and will testify to grace and truth. I invite you to think on this verse, and take heart even in these difficult days. (By the way, God wins in the end.)
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. – 1 Peter 5 v10