It’s the wee hours in Jerusalem and the city, which usually is a hub of varied activity, is quiet. The weather the past few nights has been mild, so walking has been pleasant. A friend and I walked her little white poodle in and out of the streets of our neighborhood, Rehavia. We passed several Hanukkiahs whose candle glow had begun to dim since they were lit at sunset. People were walking. We passed a group of teenage, religious boys who seemed to be having some Hanukkah fun joking and pushing one another around so we named them “Hanukkah Hooligans”.
We rounded the corner back to our street and passed a rose bush. She said in a very pensive voice, “Roses in December.” That’s it. No explanation. None was needed. I was filled with warmth. The rose bush is still in bloom and the fragrant white flower was illuminated by the moonlight. Roses in December. How lucky we are to have roses grow in December. When the weather is unpredictable and the days are short, no matter where you are, you need a rose in December.
The rose that we saw reminded me that there is goodness in this disparaging world. We need not sit in darkness and hopelessness because roses are to be found in the most unexpected places. A warm cup of coffee, a bowl mom’s chili, a chat with a friend, a letter from a lover, in Shakespeare’s words, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Roses in December are any place. The rose is goodness and light, hope and affection.
The rose is God’s divine mercy, and love, and redemption reaching out to us in this world. It will always be in bloom and ready for us to behold.