The birds' chorus calls all to rejoice and be grateful


I hear children’s voices counting from the other room. Stuart pops his head around the corner, “Papa, do you know how many birds you have in your house?


Last July, our family gathered to celebrate Jenny’s and Donald’s wedding, and my son’s family bunked with us in Lexington. The extreme heat kept us indoors for large parts of the day, and make-your-own-fun is a forte of my Texas grands. Along with constructing monster hot wheel car race tracks down the stairs and building Lego masterpieces, they also explored closets, asked questions, told jokes, and counted birds.


“I do not know, Stuart. There are lots, huh?”


“So many birds! We counted 117,” he says


“And that’s just the pictures, it’s not including the statues of birds,” reminds Roger.


“Let’s go count those too,” calls Maggie, already heading out of the room.


Stuart hangs back long enough to ask me, “Why do you have such a lot of birds around here?” Not waiting for an answer, he shrugs and joins his siblings.


I ponder Stuart’s query. Why do Kathy and I have such a large collection of bird paintings, sketches, collages, “statues,” plates, and planters? I would not have thought we had an unusual lot of birds in the house. But we do. The answer, surely, begins with my wife.


“Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them.”


One of Kathy’s favorite expressions is “No worries.” I trace it to her love of A.A. Milne’s The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. That bear takes life as it comes, and with his motley collection of friends, he finds pleasure (and learns lessons) in the Hundred-Acre Wood.


One of my wife’s favorite rituals is strolling in our wooded backyard in the first light of morning, listening to the “dawn chorus”––the birds’ welcome song for daybreak. When I am up that early, I watch her as she faces upward, smiling at the show. I know that her heart is singing, too.


Any wonder, I think, that she is drawn to decorations and artwork with bird motifs? They extend her pleasure of nature and embody a joyful life. Maybe there are reminders in her 117 birds of the simple goodness God spills out for His creation every day.


“Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them.”


Not too many days ago, Kathy and I stood on the porch sipping coffee (Carolina bluebirds on the mugs, of course), listening to a heavy rainstorm. Since rain has been sparse, as soon as we heard it coming, we headed outside to watch with thanksgiving. The erratic slant of the showers, first this way and then that, mingled with the breezy gusts that rustled the leaves and swayed the pines. Throughout the display, birds serenaded, pouring forth a symphony of gladness.


“It’s amazing,” I wonder aloud, “how the birds sing even in the storm.”


“Rejoicing, right?” Kathy responds, looking up so the rain can blow onto her face.


Yes, rejoicing. The dryness over the past weeks has weighed heavy day after day now to be replaced by the splashing of water on the once dry earth.


“Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them.”


Surely such goodness touches the hearts of everyone, all creation, and, united, a thanksgiving rises up for this gift of rain, cooling the ground and comforting the spirit. But just in case we humans miss it, the birds call attention to the outpouring with their loud and exuberant song.


I’m glad we have 117 birds in our house. I’m glad Stuart and company have given me an exact number for which to be grateful. Sometimes, in my day to day striving, I forget the bounty the Creator showers on His creation. But the birds’ chorus calls me to look up and slow down, to rejoice with my whole heart for all that I am granted every minute of my day.


Inside, the many birds remind me of this good lesson. Outside, I listen for the birds and rejoice.


Article written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

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