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Second Sunday in Advent: The Assurance of Renewed Life

A devotion about the practice of planting spring bulbs during Advent, with faith that new life will spring from them.

Second Sunday in Advent: The Assurance of Renewed Life
Credit: Smileus
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Hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19

One hundred tulip bulbs shipped from a gardening company in the Midwest. Ever since I ordered those first hundred bulbs a couple of years ago, the company has had my number. They send me catalogs every fall and then a reminder in the form of a postcard that asks, “Have you ordered your spring bulbs yet?”

I fill out the card and send it in. The bulbs, they promise, will arrive at the seasonally and regionally appropriate moment for planting. I leave them in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, making sure that Indian summer has passed. Then, on a bitter December day when others are putting up wreaths and hanging lights, I put in my bulbs.

In the weak sunlight, with dead leaves blowing past, I dig into the cold earth and think about where the purple, yellow and scarlet-tinged flowers will look best. I can see them in my mind’s eye, just like the photo in the catalog, even though the box hedge is bare and the hydrangeas are sticks.

The Christmas carols will be sung and the stockings hung, but I’ll be thinking about my bulbs. They give me hope through the snow and ice and frozen mud. Beneath it new life is growing.

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I don’t mind waiting for things—good dinners with friends, a new book by a favorite author, a movie with an unbeatable cast—as long as I know they’re coming. I say the prayers of Advent and think of my tulips. I can weather any winter storm as long as I’ve made that down payment on spring.

Lord, I trust You with my hopes. May they grow.

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