I walked the narrow streets of Amsterdam. I remember the grey– streets, houses, sky. Icy rain fell, pinging on the frozen canals. It was January in the Netherlands.
Yet the Dutch folk knew a happy secret of turning windows into greenhouse glass! Everywhere I looked, there were flowers. Bulbs growing inside, colors shining in the windows. Bursts of hue against a dull winter monochrome.
The street vendors were selling flowers in the winter cold. Townspeople carried them by the armload to put in vases back at home. I imagine the conversations over the phone (in that thick Netherlandic dialect)–“Could you pick up some milk on your way home? And a loaf of bread. And we’re out of flowers too.”
Flowers in January. Not for an anniversary or an apology or a memorial–just because there is beauty in it.
I read of Charles Spurgeon, discussing Song of Solomon 2:1 on a December day: “Here are sweet flowers blooming serenely in this wintry weather. In the garden of the soul you may gather fragrant flowerets at all seasons of the year; and although the soul’s garden, like every other, has its winter, yet, strange to say, no sooner do the roses and the lilies mentioned in the text begin to bloom, than the winter flies and the summer smiles. Outside in your garden, the summer brings the roses; but within the enclosure of the heart, the roses and lilies create the summer.”
Within the enclosure of my heart–yes that is where there is eternal summer–eternal life. In the earth of my heart, He is the rose and the fairest of lilies. Jesus Christ, the only and immortal beauty.
So around town in my own little corner, there are flowers everywhere. Nailed to the mailboxes. Planted in rows. Framed in window boxes. A celebration of His beauty. And there is summer in my heart.