The Cardinals Have Come

The cardinals have come. Slight flashes of crimson. We only see them at our house in the early spring. I don’t know why they visit so seldomly, but I’m thankful they come.

A pair of cardinals are flitting to our church-shaped bird feeder for a morning snack of black-oil sunflower seeds. But you have to be lucky to glimpse them. Rare beauty. Drawn to the feeder, just now and again in the early spring.

What great beauty God has created. And sometimes the creation that is most beautiful is the most shy. The most transient. Momentary, unexpected visitations — then gone until next year. But cardinals don’t know they’re so beautiful. Just cardinals being cardinals. Shy, unselfconscious gifts of the spring. 

How wise Ecclesiastes was with those “there-is-nothing-better-than” aphorisms (2:24; 3:12; 3:22; 8:15). They invite us to savor fully the momentary gifts of creation. To paraphrase the Teacher: 

“There is nothing better than a glimpse of a cardinal in the early spring.” 

We dare not miss them, nor take them for granted. Drink deeply of the gifts when they alight. Here only for a moment.

But such moments are enough, perhaps more than enough, even in troubled days. Cardinals are divine, unexpected ministers of joy in vestments of crimson. 

May we look for cardinals this spring. For whatever flitting gift brings us joy.

May we watch for glimpses of wonder.

There’s nothing better than that. 

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