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Watchful (Almond Blossoms)

Almond blossoms on Troödos

The sight of flowering almond trees currently on Troödos is nothing short of delightful. Not only do they add bursts of light to the drab winter landscape, but they also shed a delicate fragrance in the wind.

Almond trees blossom early in spring (January and February) and are located across the Troödos region, particularly around the villages of Korfi, Apesia and Limnatis. Limnatis holds an annual Almond Tree Festival in March, during which almond products are displayed and sold.

Originating in the Middle East, almond trees are now found throughout the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Africa and America. It is not known when the tree was domesticated, but there is evidence of domesticated almonds from as early as the 4th century B.C. found at the archaeological site Numeira in Jordan.

The almond tree is also mentioned several times in the Old Testament. Almonds were among the produce sent by Jacob as a gift for Joseph in Genesis 43. The miraculous budding of Aaron's rod in Numbers 17 was that of an almond rod. The design of the lampstand in the Tabernacle was based on the motif of almond buds and blossoms.

In Jeremiah chapter 1 we read of a conversation between the young prophet Jeremiah and God. God asks Jeremiah what he sees and he replies:

"I see a branch of an almond tree." (v. 11)

The LORD replies:

“You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.” (v. 12)

The word for 'almond tree' in Hebrew is derived from the word for 'watchful'. The play on words is lost in the English translation, but it becomes clear when the Hebrew is highlighted: The ‘almond tree’ is saqed and God is ‘watching’ (soqed) over his word to fulfil it.” (Feinberg).¹

As we marvel at the beauty of the almond trees around us, may we, like Jeremiah, be reminded to be watchful of God's ways. We are filled with dismay and sadness at the dreadful events happening in Ukraine and other parts of the world. However, we are assured that the Lord is watching and will fulfil His word in His time.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

And His ears are open to their prayers;

But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 3:12

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