By Pastor Mark Woodward
Maple Leaf Parish Churches: Spring Valley: Faith, Cherry Grove, Fountain, Preston (and Lenora)
I love to walk in the woods. I love to listen to the birds. I love to hear the wind blow through the trees. I love the beauty and wonder of God’s Creation.
The other day I went for a walk and in a field near our house a deer was standing quietly in the grass. Off in the distance, snow covered the brown earth as winter crept ever closer. As I stood there, the deer and I looked at each other and soon the young doe trotted off into the brush. I was able to take her picture and it was a quiet, holy moment on that late November day.
We are now in the season of Advent – a time for getting ready of the coming birth of our Savior Jesus. This is a spiritual time of preparing and allowing our hearts to be open to all that the Holy Spirit does in our lives. This is a time for renewal, recreation and to be reborn in our relationship with Jesus. Truly, this is a holy time.
Already, we are seeing and hearing the sights and sounds of the Advent and Christmas seasons. In my personal devotions I ran across a song of the season that really spoke to my heart — maybe it was because of the deer standing in the snowy field…
“In the Bleak Midwinter” written by Christina G. Rossetti in 1872, based in part on Luke 2: 8-14.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
What can I give Him,
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him:
give my heart.
As I stood there that wintery day, thinking about Advent and Christmas, I got to thinking about how I can again give me heart to Jesus. The words of Christina Rossetti’s hymn spoke to me as I watched the deer in the field. It was a holy moment. So… during this Advent and Christmas time may we experince those holy moments and may we be born a new to a living hope know ing that “Jesus is the Light of the world and in him is no darkness at all!!” May this be a time for renewal, to be reborn as we share the Light of Jesus…
That was, for me, a holy moment watching the deer in the field as the cold wind of winter began to blow… and I asked myself again, “What can I give Jesus?” I will give him my heart.
May you have a blessed Advent and Christmas as we open our hearts to Jesus.
God’s Blessings Always,
Pastor Mark Woodward