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REFLECTION: The Swallow’s Season

Nature Teaches Us A Spiritual Lesson…..


The swallow observe the time of their coming…..   (Jeremiah 8:7)    

In the autumn of 2007 my wife and I had to travel over to Guernsey for a funeral. As our flights were booked too late to obtain cheaper fares, we decided to take a different route for the same price. Our tickets took us from Southampton to Guernsey via the small island of Alderney where we stopped briefly to change aircraft.  As we waited in the warm sunshine of an early October afternoon for our next flight, I watched a number of swallows congregating above the airfield and then heading south towards the coast and the open sea. They were commencing their long journey to southern Africa for the winter. Somehow the sight seemed strangely appropriate for the occasion. Summer had gone, and the birds were leaving our shores for warmer climes. The loved one whose funeral service we were to attend had also “flown away” to the heavenly country where the sun never sets. One day, in similar fashion, all of the redeemed will “migrate” at the coming of the Lord Jesus for His own. 


Six months later, early in April, I was in the Channel Islands again. This time the swallows were on their way back. Just a few hours before leaving Guernsey I saw one swooping across an open field! Although one swallow may not make a summer, the arrival of these birds is always a harbinger. When we see them, we know that summer is coming. Before the middle of April swallows were once again becoming a familiar sight in the English countryside.


Long ago it was thought that when swallows disappeared in winter they hid at the bottom of lakes or flew to the moon! Although today such ideas seem quite absurd, an equally irrational idea is firmly believed by millions of people. The unproven theory of evolution offers no satisfactory explanation for the migration of birds. Is it not amazing that they have the instinct and intelligence not only to fly thousands of miles between continents but also to return to the very same spot each year? This is nothing but the planning and programming of an Almighty and all-wise Creator!




Recalling what I had seen that afternoon in Alderney, my thoughts turned to Jeremiah’s comment about swallows. They know that they must fly to warmer countries before the onset of winter, but Israel did not know that their summer was over (Jeremiah 8:20) and the “winter” of God’s judgment was about to begin. The birds, with their awareness, still put us to shame. Do we realize that our country, like Israel, faces God’s judgment?


Christian believers love to think of the land where there is no night (Rev.21:25). Our Saviour has placed a longing within our hearts to be there. At His coming all “His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies” (1). We shall be “caught up …. to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thess.4:17). The migratory birds know the season when they must fly away. There are signs to indicate that our departure may be very near as well.



(1)Hymn 983 in Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos “When the roll is called up yonder.”