From the Vicarage - February
Updated: Apr 7
Are you, by any chance, a Galanthophile? You may be, without even knowing it – but it’s no bad thing!
For those of you who know your plants, you will likely know that the horticultural, or posh, name for the humble snowdrop is Galanthus. Snowdrops are widely-loved – hence the need for a term which describes those who devote themselves to growing, studying or simply adoring the little flower!
I confess to being one of those who loves to see their tiny green sprouts sticking up stubbornly through the hard winter earth before any other spring flowers consider it advisable to do so. The humble snowdrop is once again daring to do just that, and I am sure that you too you will have witnessed that yearly miracle happening somewhere close by in these past few weeks.
Part of the snowdrops’ beauty, and the sense of miracle which they convey, is the very fact that they appear when they do and that despite their being so small and seemingly fragile in stature, they are the first to push up their tiny hopeful heads and announce the coming of spring.
They have become a symbol of hope and promise, referred to in the literature of poetry, fairy-tale and myth. There is an embellishment to the biblical story of Adam and Eve which tells of the sorrow of Adam and Eve after they are banished from the beauty of Eden, having been unwilling to live by the laws of Paradise. Outside the gates of Eden, Eve’s tears of hopelessness fall. An angel is move to pity, catches a handful of the bitter cold snowflakes falling around the bereft couple, and blows upon them. They fall to earth as snowdrops along the barren pathway. ”Be hopeful and do not despair”, they are told. “Let these be a sign to you that spring and life will come again."
Snowdrops have also been called ‘Candlemas Bells’ associating them with the day and date of the Church’s Candlemas Celebration (2nd Feb) which is both the mid-way point between the shortest day of the year and the spring equinox and is the day upon which the 40-day old Jesus is taken to the temple and greeted by Simeon; the old man who has prayed and hoped for years. On that day, in that moment, Simeon recognises that here, in this tiny fragile child, his hope has been realised. Spring-time has come.
The fragile snowdrops of this season point with ‘attitude’ to the hope of Spring –and its coming.
The fragile presence of a new-born, but growing, child is the hope of the Christian Gospel – the promise of God’s ‘attitude’ of love towards us.
We are all fragile creatures. Will we also be those who seek to live in an ‘attitude of hope and love’, as we once again greet the promise of another Spring-time!
- Carolyn (Priest in Charge)