…I will answer their prayers and take care of them. Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them. I am the source of all their blessings. Hosea 14:8b (GNB) Good News Bible
Real, live, natural decorations are one of my favorite things during the Christmas season. I mean, what can be more beautiful than bright red berries on holly tree branches standing in a tall, crystal vase? Or what about a small handful of pine boughs tied with a red velvet ribbon hanging on a front door? I even seem to be drawn to Christmas cards that feature those types of decoration. During my growing-up years our Christmas tree was always a live tree, usually one that we cut ourselves on our farm. Nothing could beat the wonderful aroma that emitted from that tree and filled the house.
Unfortunately, one Christmas I developed a respiratory infection shortly after we brought our newly cut tree into the house. And the next Christmas the same thing happened again….we finally realized that the trees were the reason for my discomfort: allergies had entered my life (sigh). I always feel a twinge of sadness each Christmas as I see live trees for sale or hear of a family traversing their property in search of that perfect tree for their home. Don’t get me wrong; I am thankful for artificial trees and the ease and convenience they afford but I surely do miss a live tree in the house. I just console myself with being able to view evergreens from my kitchen window. And I am thankful that God created evergreens….the spruce, pine, cedar, fir, boxwood, holly, and magnolia that dot the landscape. These rugged specimens withstand cold rain, snow, howling winds, and freezing temperatures. Very often they are the only “green” in an otherwise colorless, bleak, and gray winter. When other trees are stripped of their leaves and looking lifeless, the evergreen is “ever green” and exuding life. They almost seem to stand defiantly against the forces of nature and claim, “Yes, I’m still here; I’m green, I’m alive, I will survive….and Spring will come again.” It so reminds me of our Heavenly Father — like the evergreen, He is always there…always alive….always standing firm in the midst of storms.
Take a few minutes during the Christmas/Winter season to survey your surroundings — I hope you spot some evergreens … and a red bird among the green!
(c) 2014 Leslie O. Kelley