catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 10 :: 2007.05.18 — 2007.06.01


Gardening lessons

Part 5 of 10


This is a season of trees. From shopping malls with metallic tripods in bold colours surrounded by a multitude of wares to snow-covered firs twinkling with strings and strings of lights.  Tiny trees are pinned to coats and sweaters and singing trees help share songs of the holidays.  I was taught that a traditional Christmas tree had symbolism for the season—evergreen to represent eternal life which is ours because of Jesus and a triangle shape to remind us of his place in the Trinity.  We usually look for a perfect specimen for our living rooms but Charlie Brown has also taught us to appreciate the less-than-perfect at this time of year.

But my favourite tree on a cold winter night is the tall and stately elm that guards our house.  It dominates the back yard and is the reason that in warmer days my garden is filled with hostas and impatiens.  It offers wonderful and refreshing shade all through the hot summer months.  But in the winter it stands alone, its mighty trunk and branches exposed to the sunny blue sky.  But I think even more beautiful are the silvery nights when the dark intricate patterns of the branches and twigs are silhouetted in the bluish gray moonlight. The full wonder of a tree is only visible when it is seen without all the trimmings of its leaves.

The trunk stands firm, supporting branch upon branch rising seventy feet in the air.  What an awesome and powerful structure.  It doesn't need lights or tinsel to be appreciated.  In the cold darkness, it stands as a testimony to its years of growth.  As it stands it readies itself for another spring, another summer of leaves and birds and squirrels and a fall of beautiful colour.  But now it is just itself. 

I hope that at some point this busy season we can get to the heart of all the trees of the season.  I hope that we can all see through the lights, decorations and all the gifts underneath to the trunk of it all.  Jesus. The shoot from the stump of Jesse. The vine into which we are grafted.  Alleluia. Blessed Christmas to you all.

Next:  February (In memory of a Brother who died to young) 

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