A Midwinter Poem

AS WE MOVE TOWARD the close of this year, we must refocus our priorities. Here is an anchor passage for us as we end one year and begin another:

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

HEBREWS 10:23–24

By entering this poem, you may feel the temperature drop a degree or two. But even more, I hope it will stimulate you to reach beyond the bounds of your territory to serve others. It's called "At the Winter Feeder,"1 by John Leax, who has served for over three decades on the faculty at Houghton College:

His feather flame doused dull

by icy cold,

the cardinal hunched

into the rough, green feeder

but ate no seed.


Through binoculars I saw

festered and useless

his beak, broken

at the root.


Then two: one blazing, one gray,

rode the swirling weather

into my vision

and lighted at his side.


Unhurried, as if possessing

the patience of God,

they cracked sunflowers

and fed him

beak to wounded beak

choice meats.


Each morning and afternoon

the winter long,

that odd triumvirate,

that trinity of need,

returned and ate

their sacrament

of broken seed.

If birds had souls, I have no doubt that cardinal would, yield to the God of his friends. Attractive adjectives plus unselfish verbs equal faith in the Noun of truth. It's an axiom that holds true at the winter bird feeder. Let's make certain it holds true in our lives, too.

  1. Used by permission of the author.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.

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