Advent: Perfect Trees Require Trimming

Post a Comment » Written on December 11th, 2005     
Filed under: News
ELKHORN, WI (December 11, 2005)  – Editor’s note: In preparation for the  Christmas observance, Covenant Communications is sharing devotionals  that originally appeared in local Covenant church newsletters and are  being published here by permission. The following comes from pastor Ryan  Eikenbary-Barber of Anchor Covenant Church.

By Ryan Eikenbary-Barber
I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every  branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear  fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:1-2)
Where do you go searching for the perfect Christmas tree? Buying from  the Boy Scouts at the local True Value parking lot sure is convenient.  Cutting your own Douglas fir at a nearby tree farm pays of with  life-long holiday memories.
There are some good arguments for fake trees, but a perfect Christmas tree really has to smell like pine needles. Unless you knock  down a tree on your own property, chances are that you will pay good  money for a tree that has been groomed to perfection.
All those six to nine-foot trees on the lot or farm needed help to get  so symmetrical. Trees need a shearing knife to look that way. Dead limbs  were lopped off. Thin branches were pruned to look denser. Uneven growth  was snipped early. Firs are trimmed regularly over eight to ten years in  order to look like Christmas trees. The tree you bring home may still be  a long way from perfect, but no one would bother with a Christmas tree  unless it was pruned.
As you stroll through the tree farm or down the Christmas tree lot this  season, consider how God can still trim you. We don’t have to follow the  same familiar patterns. We don’t have to repeat last year’s mistakes. We  can be people of holy obedience – serving others and sharing God’s love.  We can grow better than we have ever grown before.
That baby born in a manger is much more than cute. The message of Jesus  Christ is like a pair of clipping shears, shocking some and electrifying  others. We could all stand a little pruning. Dead branches will fall.  New growth will happen. Just like fir trees, we can start looking like  we belong to Christmas if we only allow the Master to trim as needed.
(Editor’s note: to read earlier Advent messages, please see:
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