565. Come, come thou bleak December wind, and blow the dry leaves from the tree! ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Through bare trees
I can be winter’s innocence,
unashamed needfulness,
the thin and reaching limbs 
of a beggar,
longing to touch 
but the hem of the sun.
~Lisa Lindsey

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It’s the first morn of December. It’s cold. It’s gray. Leaves are brown, dying, or gone. Branches already bare resemble arms reaching to the heavens for something or someone. A norther continues to blow open wider and wider the gates of the year’s Sabbath, and the wings and winds of change are palpable in the frosty air. In the garden’s resounding gong, in its tinkling wind chimes, and in its clanging bells I hear portents of the changes. I’m reminded not only by these sounds but also by the morning’s silences that December is a time of expectancy, a time of waiting, and a time of preparation; moreover, it is a time to share in the ancient longing for the Messiah’s birth as well as a time to look forward to His second coming. And since our time coin for this year is almost spent, it is time now more than ever to let love reign our hearts, to let peace be our constant prayer, to let compassion and giving pour our of our gratitude for another year of Yahweh’s gifts, blessings, fulfilled promises, and miracles. And it is also time, now and always, to reach for the heavens and praise God for all that He is, for all that He has done, and all that He continues to do for His children!

Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. ~2 Chronicles 6:40   ✝

** Image via Pinterest, but edited by Natalie

564. I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autumn is the eternal corrective.
It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop
and fail to see the span of his world
and the meaning of the rolling hills
hat reach to the far horizon?
~Hal Borland

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Nature reveals intimations of its Maker in so many ways. It can even mask disturbing realities in this fallen world so that in the remaining clarity one can gain a better perspective of the bigger picture. The exact beginning and end of nature’s seasons, like the seasons of our lives, come and go shrouded to some extent in veils of mystery. And we can never really be sure of the exact moment in time that the spark of change ignites. Nor do we know when the remaining ember of that initial spark will die, but the time and space between beginnings and endings, like autumn, ripen life with more than enough breadth and depth and distance and color. For example it was over 80 degrees here today and although I did not “waste anything as precious as autumn’s sunshine,” I know November’s door will close at midnight and the winter solstice is only 3 weeks away. But I also know there’s no guarantee that the solstice will mark the exact end of lovely autumnesque realities. The weather forecast may say that an arctic norther will start blowing in here in the wee hours of the morning and plummet our temperatures to below freezing by tomorrow night. But the same forecast also shows that a day later we’ll be on the climb right back up to the warmer ripeness and color that is quintessentially autumn. So who knows? Is this cold snap the beginning of the end or will it be the next one or the one after that? There may be many things we cannot know in this life, and although it has been said that “life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing,” others perceive life as a different kind of tale. I, for one, find that standing outside in autumn, or any season for that matter, gives me glimpses of Yahweh, the Holy One, wrote the tale, who knows everything, who’s in control, and who has a plan, purpose, and time for all things under heaven.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

216. Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so You (Lord) dapple and sound in the human soul, so You (Lord) stir into motion all that lives. ~J. Philip Newell

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
~Author Unknown


Though left barren by a blue norther and seemingly now no more than silent sentries watching over the landscape, somewhere in the core of these trees their music plays on.  John Muir’s idea that the fibers of a tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” not only sets well with me, but it also answers the question Walt Whitman once asked, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?”  The music of life of which he and so many others have verbalized through the ages plays on in all of Creation.  We may not always hear or pay attention to the music but the melodies are there; we may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us.  I know because I hear nature’s songs and I see reminders of the Lord’s continual and constant presence in the great and small pulsing lights in the heavens, in the caroling colors of earth and sky, in the sizzling efficacy of the sun’s warmth, in the rush of roaring waters and tides, in the sighing and howling of the wind, wind which like the Holy One is a presence that can be felt but not seen.

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord…  ~1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝