I think the robin may be taking shelter in my garage, so I’m leaving my garage door open just in case. I was reminded of a poem my dad used to recite to me:
The North Wind will blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the robin do then?
He’ll fly into the barn, To keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
I wonder where that robin I saw came from? Did he get lost? Did he head north earlier than all the others? Perhaps he was trying to be the early bird. Well, he certainly is. A robin in February, did you ever hear the like? Maybe he saw the baseball spring season begin in Florida. That might have started him north so he’d have a good seat at the games.
But I do wonder how a very early bird will manage in the snow and ice.
I never understood what clues gave migrating birds and animals the idea to begin their travels. Some say it is the length of the days. Some say it is the temperature. Some say the trees and plants send signals. In the Scripture, Jesus tells his disciples: Pay attention. By watching the seasons coming and going, you know what time it is. You might want to pay such close attention to your lives, to your environment.
We have been given a time to pay attention - it’s the Sabbath, the day when God rested from his work of creation, and looked around and pronounced everything good. It’s the day most honored by people who would follow God—a time to slow down, take a deep breath, look around and count your blessings, and to be grateful. Since we’ve been invited to take advantage of Sabbath, it is interesting to see what happens when we take advantage of that time.
Often what develops is called an “attitude of gratitude,” first, gratitude for another day. Then gratitude to the God who created us. The apostle Paul tells us we should bring every concern and worry we have to prayer, with thanksgiving. Paul doesn’t pretend there aren’t worries and concerns in every life, some more heavy than others. But Paul invites us to “fly into the barn to keep ourselves warm.” In other words, move into the shelter of prayer, remembering that the one who created us also loves us. And to hide in the shelter of faith, all of us “poor things.” When unexpected challenges assail us, we will be able to seek shelter. The practice of prayer is able to shelter us in the midst of sometimes awful trouble. And if I am moved to leave the garage door open for a robin in the snow, so also will doors open to our desperate prayers.
When the north wind blows in our lives, when the snows come, take the Sabbath time to rest and look around and hide your head for a while if you need to. Be wise. Pay attention. Keep aware of the seasons. And join people on that one day a week to rest and look around together with other grateful people. Allow yourself to count, along with the troubles you face, your blessings. Be blessed.