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The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, October 31, 2022, comes to us from Øystein Brinch of Oslo, Norway.

28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Mark 13:28-31NIV



Winter can be a challenge in Norway. We have only a couple hours of sunshine each day which means it is largely cold and quiet. Even the birds are silent with one main exception: the coal tit. I can be at my forest cabin in January and hear the coal tits singing from the large spruce tree outside. For me, the solitary song of this bird is a prophecy of spring, warmth, and sunshine. The snow will melt. Green leaves will grow. Life will return.

Life is not always easy. Disappointments, health challenges, and death of loved ones can feel like the dark, cold, quiet days of a Norwegian winter. We find ourselves wondering: When will the light return? When will I feel peace? In the lesson of the fig tree, Jesus tells us that the love of God is always near, even when the darkness overwhelms us. I listen to the coal tits singing in January, and I sense God is near.



We find ourselves amid the shortened days of Fall, daylight hours are reduced, and the temperature is dropping. Winter is edging closer and closer with all its accompanying wonder and challenges. Øystein’s reflection reminds us to find messengers of hope and promised renewal, offered to us by our loving God. When grey clouds block out the light of the sun, may we find moments to bask in the light of The Son, who offers us hope.

--Pastor Anthony


Dear Lord, thank you for letting us know that you are near, even in the darkness of winter. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

-- Øystein Brinch

Prayer Focus:

Those living in isolation.

Thought for the day:

In every season, God is near.

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