It is spring time in Australia. I love this time of year, not least because of the trees. I was in England recently, where it was closing in for winter, its trees bare and fruitless. On my return to Australia, I was met with Jacaranda blossom and fresh green. As a biologist, I observe trees. As a Christian, I consider them. Jesus identifies one of the sins of this festive season and commands us, “Do not worry about your life” (Luke 12:22 NIV) and then points us to a solution by challenging us to, “Consider how the lilies grow” (Luke 12:27 NIV). To be honest, I find it strange when people take one command literally and the other metaphorically.
Trees have a great deal to teach us. Consider, for instance, an allegory about the demise of Israel written by the prophet Ezekiel, “All the trees of the field will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish” (Ezekiel 17:24). In other words, the self-sufficient will diminish and the thirsty will thrive. The kingdom of God is an ‘upside down’ world where cedars are humbled to fuel a fire and thorns exalted to crown a King. The trees in my street remind me that this Christmas season was birthed in humility and thirst: The humility of a Child and the thirst of His mother. As Mary sang in her pregnancy, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:53).
My suggestion, this Christmas, is certainly to enjoy the decorations, but also to ‘consider the trees’.