Back in October I was given a M&S 'grow an amaryllis kit' by the good ladies of the WWDP in Goring, Sussex. Well you know me, I struggle with growing-cress-on-a-flannel. But I flowed the instructions, planted it and in time a green shoot sprung up with first one then 4 buds around the top. I forgot to photograph it then - but here is a similar picture I found on the net. "It would be nice if it flowered for Christmas" I said to Bob on Sunday 18th December as we ate breakfast before church. Three hours later, we returned after the brilliant All-Age Nativity Service led by Miriam our Youth Minister, to find this...One bud had completely opened, in the space of just 3 hours. Utterly stunning. Bob took some pictures for me whilst I prepared lunch.
On Christmas Morning, we awoke to find two more blossoms open - they had been buds when we went to the Midnight Carols a few hours earlier. We came away to Norfolk wondering if #4 would bloom in our absence.Somehow these blossoms have really challenged me. When I first planted them, I was in a pretty despondent mood about life- Brexit, Trump, Aleppo... and loads more things seemed to be going so very wrong. And I had very little hope that this dead looking bulb in its pot of dull brown compost would come to anything.
And I was so totally wrong - these beautiful, glorious blooms bear witness to what loveliness can grow from apparently lifeless beginnings, even in the hands of a non gardener like myself. My hope was pretty feeble, but in the end I was not disappointed - in fact I was overwhelmed. There's a part of Romans chapter 5 where the Apostle Paul writes
We know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.
Find a Bible and read Romans 5 - and have hope. We start this new year in a world full of troubles - but I believe God will sort it out in his time, and I can trust Him to see me through each day.
As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 -
'faith, hope and love remain'
may your New Year be blessed with all three virtues - and especially the greatest of these, which is love.