“Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.”

Amid all the Christmas songs, this is one of my favorite verses, because I find it relatable.

Due to a congenital heart defect, I have a lifelong regard for hearts. I’ve become familiar with an array of tests that assess my heart’s condition.

Aside from the health factor, there is another condition of the heart that everyone should evaluate – how is your heart emotionally? Taking it a step further, how is it spiritually?

I was asked this once. After honest reflection, the word that came to mind was “restrained”

There are many reasons that we may choose to hold back or not allow our hearts to be fully opened to God. Fear is a big one – fear of failure, fear of what others think, fear of change. Other reasons include pride, shame, past hurts, disappointments. You can fill in the blank here.

As much as I may know about hearts, my sister knows about plants. Her knowledge and landscaping skills far exceed mine. My kind of gardening involves perennials—plants that come back every year and require minimal maintenance. One of these is the bright pink azalea, that came with our house.

Each spring, I enjoy watching the process – flower buds becoming blooms.

Several years, the buds are on the brink of blooming, when suddenly there is a frost warning. To protect the plant, we cover it and hope that the flowers remain unharmed. I know that I would be disappointed if the azalea produced all those buds just to never bloom.

Just for a moment, imagine with me that our hearts are like those azalea buds.

Do we get so, so very close to opening our hearts, to moving forward with purpose and towards our potential…but for whatever reason we just stop. Maybe we fear vulnerability. Maybe we’re too content with our comfort zone. Perhaps we fear the storms, thinking we will be destroyed.

Going back to the familiar song verse, it is important to recall WHO we are opening our hearts to.

Flowers open to the s-u-n, but we open to the S-o-n… to our Creator – to the One who came to save us- to the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

What would happen if we let our hearts unfold like flowers before Him?

Fully opening them and letting Him in? Becoming all that we are created to be.

This Christmas, will you consider that with me?