Third Sunday in Advent
There is a delicate purple flower that grows in the tundra so far from the sun's warm rays that it could not blossom if it had to start its life cycle from seed each spring. With this plant, the cycles are reversed: The flower remains fresh beneath the snow during the 10 months of winter. It promptly withers and dies as soon as the snow melts, leaving room for new life to spring forth from the old.
That flower has always spoken to me of two key themes that come to us with particular force in the Advent season. First, in that the flower lies buried under mounds of snow and ferocious winter weather, it speaks of the hiddenness of the kingdom of God. The life remains, coursing through the delicate plant, even though no eyes can see its beauty during the long arctic winter. At the same time, that flower has always reminded me of the promise of God for the creation. No matter how difficult the circumstances now, they do not exhaust the possibilities of life because God draws near, bringing the promise of completely transformed circumstances.