A Cardinal in the Thicket

By Ronnie Martin

December 5, 2015

A row of crab apple trees is the vision that greets me every morning through the window. As winter weather lives up to its reputation as the dreaded "thief of leaves", I'm once again left with a tangled mess of densely arranged branches. As I adjust my eyes to the grey morning light, the fog hovers "thick as peanut butter" (as Yukon Cornelius would so eloquently describe it) over the bleak landscape.  The frost collects around the holiday decor, looking equal parts frigid and romantic. A red cardinal arrives unannounced between the ominous branches, looking like a lone ornament on a Christmas tree stripped bare of its greenery. There he sits in the thicket, offering a dazzling and astonishing dash of color against the monochrome backdrop of winter.

My mind turns to those shepherds from the gospel of Luke. The lowly vocation. The unchanging landscape. The lightless objects. The melodic rustle of the wind. And then, out of nowhere, light. Like in Genesis when God spoke and darkness was interrupted by instantaneous light. Voices of angelic wonder filling the night like bursts of falling stars singing the greatest verses ever written. Glory to God. Peace among those with whom He is pleased. The unannounced arrival. Of glory, of peace. Of God.
Keywords: advent, christmas
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