"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

St. Helen’s Quiet Garden Winter Devotional

Out of the bosom of the air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft and slow
Descends the snow.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Snow-flakes

The Quiet Garden is indeed ‘quiet’, under its blanket of the white stuff.  The ichthus path is buried, although a few hardy souls tramp through the icy crust to take a moment’s respite and rest on a handy bench.We are, as of this writing, still in the grip both of winter and of Covid, with multiple restrictions in place. Many feel isolated, are struggling with illness or depression or other difficult life circumstances, and the months ahead do not yet promise relief.

But the day light hours are now getting longer, by seconds each day! And, in protected corners, the sun offers a warm caress on upturned faces.  Before long the ‘bleak mid-winter’ will have passed and the signs of springtime will come. The first of the migrating birds will fill the air with their melodious mating calls; the first sprouts of green will make their way through the nurturing earth; and, spiritually, we will be in the midst of observing a holy Lent, hopefully including in-person worship!

During the season we prepare the ‘ground’, not only for the Quiet Garden’s emergence into a glorious profusion of colour(with the help of our dedicated gardeners) but for our own growth and renewal in faith and commitment. Soon, we, with the lover in the Song of Solomon, will rejoice, saying “for lo, the winter is past…the flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come”(Song of Solomon Chapter 2:11) and ‘Alleluia, Christ is Risen’ will be our strength and song.