Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent bulbs

A month ago, my housemate Elizabeth and I planted over 200 bulbs in our front yard. If you've been to our house, you are probably asking yourself, "where?"

With only about 10 square feet of planting space in the yard, it's pretty dense down there.

I was planning to put in just 50 or so. But the kind people at Glen Echo Hardware gave me extra bags of tulips, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths. It was so late in the season they figured no one was still planting.

After a month of unseasonably warm weather and constant rain, the bulbs think it's April. They're coming up. I was tickled to see green sprouts in the mulch.
But I'm worried. What happens to bulbs that come up prematurely? Will winter, if it ever comes, ruin these plants? Will they flower in the springtime? We'll see in a few months. At least we know we didn't plant them upside down.

Bulbs are an obvious metaphor for faith. You put a dead looking thing into the ground with hope and trust that the weather and seasons will work their miracles.

Hope is gestated in times when it seems like nothing good is happening. In the bleak midwinter, the Christmas hymn goes. As the weather is getting darker and darker, God's getting ready to be born into this world.

So what's it mean when the bulbs come up early? For me, it's a reminder to always be on the look-out for surprise. God, life and love appear in unlikely places at at unlikely times.
Happy Advent.

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