Reprinted from the Daily Devotion of The Cathedral of Hope, Dallas:
I know all the birds of the mountains
And every wild creature is in my care. Psalm 50.1
A Word of Hope
Many of the national days of remembrance we honor are rather obscure and even unknown to most people, but today, National Bird Day, is an occasion that coincides beautifully with the last day of the Christmastide Season. The evening of this day is also called 12th Night, the last of the twelve days of Christmas, the eve of the Epiphany, and medieval British traditions appointed two birds to symbolize both this day and the January 6 arrival of the Magi.
The wren, a small and humble grey brown bird, is the symbol of the departed old year and the bright, red breasted robin is the symbol of the new hope, the coming of the influential, and we are to assume, colorful magi who arrived in Bethlehem to worship and adore the Christ Child on behalf of the entire gentile world. The robin’s migration also ushered in the bright light of the world as the long dark days of winter were grinding to a close. Medieval Christians were familiar, too, with the old legend of the robin’s red breast being God’s reward for its stalwartly fanning the embers of the stable’s fire all night in order to provide warmth for the Christ Child.
Birds, from the partridge to the seven swans comprised half of all the gifts my true love gave to me on the 12 Days of Christmas, but their importance as symbols trace back to the teachings of Jesus, who obviously had great respect and much knowledge of our avian friends. His birds of the air stories featured ravens, sparrows, roosters, doves, pigeons and he even compared himself to a mother hen: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem!...I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” Luke 13.34.
May I use this Twelfth Night as a good time of the year to remember and honor all the wrens and robins of my own life, and respect them as Jesus did, as quiet memories of the past and vibrant hopes for the future.
Minister for Children and Families, COH
Birds and squirrels are one of my very greatest joys. When I went with Ken to his specialist visit last week, on the third floor of a very brick-y medical building, a wonderful singing sounded right out the window of the room. The nurse said, "Oh, that's our cardinal." Apparently this male cardinal comes day after day and sings there...it's not an openable window, so he's not getting any food from the gig...he just comes and sings there because he likes it. Were we the lucky ducks or what? Click here to hear what we enjoyed. Thank you, little brother.
Over the holiday, some new concrete sidewalk was poured on my path from car to work. I was tickled beyond measure to see that, although it had been carefully blocked from human traffic by big orange barrels and yellow tape, the set concrete is full of squirrel tracks. There's a lot of student-made art on our campus, and I'm so pleased to see our squirrels getting into that action. I'll get a picture soon. Fabulous!