Friday, December 4, 2015 

Happy are those who…delight in the law of the LORD…they are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 

A lovingly-nurtured Norway spruce, high above Rockefeller Center, is a wonder for all, a myriad of lights and decorations draped upon its boughs with care. As a child, I was awed. Now as an adult, I consider how like this tree we Christians need to be.

The German carol begins, “O Tannenbaum, Wie treu sind deine Blätter”… How faithful are your branches! Knowing the tremendous weight the tree’s limbs hold up, I realize the importance of that tree’s health and strength, of its faithfulness. Even one failing bough could mean disaster. Even more than the tree as a symbol of Christmas, we who believe in Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate, are called to stand tall and true for all to see, to extend forth the weightiest of virtues and blessings. Only in partnership with our gracious, loving God can we handle this load, this humbling demand of our faith. God enables us to do what we alone could not: by pruning away blights that would compromise our own gifts and skills, by feeding us through the Holy Spirit to fortify our limbs and our branches, and to keep them up to (forgive the pun) the task at hand.

To do this, we must be renewed in God daily, even as God renews trees, even all of nature. We become emissaries of the Christmas Spirit, charged to act out our faith in Christ. Then our charitable acts of love and joy can be truly meaningful. Like the Rockefeller Center tree, we are each an awesome creation of God. We are extensions of God in our own unique gifts, our own callings, and our own personal faithfulness.

-Hansie Haier

Prayer: Dear Lord, We seek your living waters. Please renew in us each day your loving, comforting, joyous Spirit. Infuse in us your strength and your inspiration, so others may know you through us, and may know the true and faithful meaning of the Christmas season. Amen.