James M. Barrie began his rectorial address at St. Andrews University on May 3, 1922 with the following statement: “You have had many rectors here in St. Andrews who will continue in bloom long after the lowly ones such as I am are dead and rotten and forgotten. They are the roses in December; you remember someone said that God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December. But I do not envy the great ones. In my experience – and you may find in the end it is yours also – the people I have cared for most and who have seemed most worth caring for – my December roses have been very simple folk.” Barrie considered himself simple folk, but left his mark on the world with his stories, most notably Peter Pan.
Barrie’s reference to roses in December carries the implication that roses would not be available to view in December – thus the need for the memory of them. I will remember this year as the December where I did not have to use my memory to enjoy roses – they have been blooming in some areas of the south during December. Not only have I seen roses this month, but I have enjoyed watching the monarch butterflies in my backyard in recent days. Even in Texas where you can alternately use the air conditioner and heater in off seasons, roses have usually lost their bloom and butterflies are long gone by December.
Barrie related his December roses to people – those people who are worth caring for. In my life, I also have fond memories of these December roses. I have friends and family that I seldom see, but hear from periodically through cards, Facebook, phone calls or email. Every time I do, it brings a smile, similar to the smile that comes across my face when I see roses and butterflies in December. Their contributions to my life continues to bloom.
Family, friends, roses and butterflies are among many things I am grateful for. The greatest blessing I have ever received is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. Fellowship with Him makes me aware of the delightful gifts that He gives as well. So, whether I actually see them or I need to exercise my memory to enjoy them, through His grace I can experience roses in December.
I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys (Song of Solomon 2:1).