8 February – Kate Napier, St Peter’s

White Hope

Every year. It happens every year. Without fail. December, catkins break out of their twigs and hang like small unlikely caterpillars. January, clumps of grass turn out to be snowdrops. There’s just such a clump by the side of the Tilmore Brook on a path I walk the dogs along every morning. I missed it altogether in my first January – two years ago – till it became a white flash (a piece of litter maybe?) that I spotted from the start of the path. Last year, and this, knowing better, I was on the lookout, and sought out the first emergence of tiny slivers of white among the blades which are, when you bend to look, not grass-green at all. And now they’re ankle high, drops of white standing above the green.

Those unlikely caterpillars are hanging long now, extending themselves into the wind. Yesterday I noticed celandines. And the occasional crocus. For all we’re messing sadly with the climate, the days are lengthening as they always do, and the earth responds.

Every year. But do we ever say ‘such a cliché’? Who knows how long snowdrops and catkins have expressed the earth’s faith that the sun will get higher and higher in the sky, that there will be longer days still to make growing and flowering and mating possible – and worth it.

Every year. It’s predictable. And so, while we might not call it a cliché, we may well take it for granted. And so not notice, not value these small signs of hope. And so trample them, dig them up, poison them. We have a choice: to ignore, devalue and participate in destruction; or to notice, be grateful and participate in hope. Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. We can ignore that promise, which was before snowdrops, and head into despair, or accept it and enter into participate in the kingdom of heaven, which starts right here.

Celebrate Him in snowdrops.