The Japanese Magnolia was first introduced to me as a Tulip Tree. The most beautiful blooms cover the tree for a few brief weeks, and usually a frost will squelch the beautiful, brief life of these glorious beauties. I noticed the other day that it feels they have been in bloom much longer this year than I remember in previous years.

Isn’t it curious, that in a time of uncertainty and fear, beauty continues to bloom and beckon? “Lean in,” beauty says, “and drink in the loveliness. Let it, for a time, soothe your spirit and calm your soul.”

I love to see the Tulip Trees in bloom, particularly during the Christian season of Lent. When invitations to turn inward reveal those things which keep us from fully experiencing God’s presence in our lives, the presence of God in nature invites us to be renewed by the beauty around us; a fresh reminder of Emmanuel, God with us, even in the most trying of times.

Take care of yourself today. Go for a walk, sit in the garden, or gaze at a tulip tree and remember that God is with you.

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