“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16 NIV)
I can still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a dark, dreary day. The Christmas decorations had been taken down. The old year had given way to the new. Now it was just Winter. Outside a bitter wind was blowing. Gray clouds covered the sun. Several inches of snow lay on the grass and trees. Inside my water was dripping so my pipes wouldn’t freeze and I was sipping coffee so I wouldn’t freeze either. I asked my dog if he was ready to go for a walk, but he just turned around and lay down next to the heater. I shook my head, zipped up my sweater and slipped on my thick socks while I looked out my kitchen window. I wasn’t looking forward to another 3 months of this. I sat wearily at the kitchen table to eat my oatmeal. Then suddenly I saw him! A beautiful, bright red cardinal had landed on a low hanging limb of the bare tree in my backyard. I looked lovingly at him while he stared back at me. He gently stretched his wings, gave me a final, knowing nod, and flew into the sky. His visit had left my spirits a little higher, my heart a little lighter, and my soul a little closer to Heaven.
Sometimes in our lives it is just winter. Sometimes the gray gloom of this world piles on the problems and troubles. Sometimes life feels both cold and bitter. Sometimes it is very hard to see the light. It is times like these when we need to call on our own inner cardinal. It is times like these that we most need to shine our own light, share our own love, and let ourselves fly. It isn’t always easy and often takes effort, but with Heaven’s help it can be done.
Just remember that God loves you in the Winter as well as in the Spring. Life may not always give you what you want but it does give you what you need to grow kinder, better, more loving, and closer to God. Let your inner cardinal fly then. Let God’s light shine through you. Let your love help warm this world in the Winter as well as the Spring.
By: Joseph J. Mazzella