Last weekend I had a rare few hours to myself while my husband was going to pick up little A from her Oma's house. I decided I had better get some gifts wrapped while I was alone, so I turned on some Christmas music and set to work. Our apartment is on the third floor of our building and so, even in the end of December, it can be pretty hot in our living room. I opened the window just a small space to let some cool air in (I think it was less than 20 degrees outside).
All of a sudden, in the middle of winter, while I wrapped Christmas gifts, a little red-breasted robin perched on our balcony railing, just outside our living room window. He whistled a little song, and I noticed him, thinking how strange it was that in this cold the robin would be perched there, exposing himself to the snow and wind. He seemed to be listening to the Christmas music I was playing. I went on with my wrapping, thinking about how oddly special it was to have him there quietly keeping me company. I expected him to fly off any moment.
Yet, twenty minutes later, there he remained, listening to my music. He was even so still and lingering that I was able to snap a picture of him.
|It's a very far-away picture, but I didn't want to scare him by getting too close.|
I went back to wrapping, and about ten minutes later the playlist I was listening to was coming to and end on this song:
Now, I'm not suspicious, and I am skeptical of "signs" most of the time. So I'm not taking this as a life-changing event. I did look into the symbolism of the robin, however, and I found a few interesting insights:
First, this short one.
Then this from Catholicism.com:
There is a legend that the robin received his red breast as a reward for protecting the Christ Child from the sparks of a fire, which he caught on his breast, while the Holy Family rested on their flight into Egypt.
Then I encountered this explanation, which does not come from any creditable source, but it did seem to pertain to my ongoing efforts in detachment and starting afresh with the Lord's vision of my life.
The robin redbreast is a bird of Spring, a time of new growth and new beginnings. It flies into our lives on the winds of change asking us to weed our personal gardens and plant new seeds for our future. Rebirth and renewal require changes in all areas of life that have become stagnant and outdated. The robin redbreast teaches us to how to make these changes with joy in our hearts. Its song is a happy one reminding us to let go of our personal drama and learn to laugh with life...Learning how to release our attachments to the old is one of the life lessons the redbreast helps us master.
This bird packs a powerful punch. It holds strong significance in ancient myth and lore. One legend had its origins in European mythology, in which the bird of Spring was associated with the New Year and represented divine sacrifice and the rebirth of the spirit. In Medieval Europe the robin redbreast was often depicted attending the Christ child, an emblem of the Passion to come. It was told how, at that fateful hour, it was the tiny robin who flew to Jesus' Crown of Thorns, striving valiantly to pluck the spines away with his beak. Unfortunately the bird succeeded only in tearing his own breast on the thorns. Ever since then it was thought that all robins wore red feathers on their bosoms as a badge of honor. The robin redbreast is a bird of divine service... (emphases mine)
I'm not confident that I know what any of this means for me, and honestly, I'm content not to try to extract meaning from it. What I do know is that I was comforted and that all comfort comes from Christ. A couple of posts ago, I concluded that my longing to hold my baby in my arms is, at its root, a desire for the infant Christ. I think this is why this moment with the robin inspired me so much. The robin, in the dead of winter, comforts the Christ Child, and tends to him, as I wish to do.