12.21.2011

The Reason for the Season

It's the special time of year in which we celebrate Jesus' birth, and in doing so are reminded also of the reason behind his birth.  He came to sacrifice his life so that we may have life eternal.


It may not dawn on us as we live in our city and town homes, eat at restaurants, and shop at a grocery store, but for every article of food we eat, something has to die.  It takes death to give life.  One must die for another to live.  The animal is slain so we have meat.  The moment a piece of fruit or a vegetable is plucked, it begins to die, its life-giving sustenance waning.


Another perspective I love so well is that of a felled tree providing firelight when once it stood gathering the rays of the sun during the day, it now lies fallen to provide that captured light to us during the darkness.

In Opening a Chestnut Burr, E. P. Roe gives us another glimpse of how intricate a tree plays a part in this theory:

Just then a variegated leaf parted from a spray overhanging the path somewhat in advance of them, and fluttered to their feet.  "Poor little leaf!" said Gregory, picking it up, "your bright colors will soon be lost.  Death has come to you too.  Why must this wretched thought of death be thrust on one at every turn?  Nature is full of it.  Things only live, apparently, for the sake of dying.  Just as this leaf becomes more beautiful it drops.  What a miserable world this is, with death making havoc everywhere.  Then your theology exaggerates the evil a thousand-fold.  If a man must die, let him die and cease to be.  But your minister spoke to-day of living death, in which one only exists to suffer.  What a misfortune to have existed!"  As Gregory gloomily uttered these bitter words, they stood looking at the leaf that had suggested them.  Annie's face brightened with a sudden thought.  She turned, and after a few rapid steps sprung lightly up and caught the twig from which the leaf had fallen.  Then turning to her companion, who regarded with surprise and admiration the agile grace of the act, she said, "Mr. Gregory, you need a lesson in logic.  If the leaf you hold is your theme, as you gave me reason to believe, you don't stick to it, and you draw from it conclusions that don't follow the premise.  Another thing, it is not right to develop a subject without regard to its connection.  Now from just this place," she continued, pointing with her finger, "the leaf dropped.  What do you see?  What was its connection?"  "Why, a little branch full of other leaves.  These would have soon dropped off and died also, if you had not hastened their fate," he said.  "That's a superficial view, like the one you just took of this 'miserable world' as you call it.  I think it a very good world,- a much better one than we deserve.  And now look closely and justly at your theme's connection, and tell me what you see.  Look just here;" and her finger rested on the little green spot where the stem of the leaf had joined the spray.  "I see a very small bud," he said, intelligence of her meaning dawning in his face.  "Which will develop next spring into other leaves and perhaps a new branch," she said.  "All summer long your leaf has rustled and fluttered  joyously over the certainty that a richer and fuller life would come after it, a life that it was providing for through the sunny days and dewy nights.  There is no death here, only change for the better.  And so with everything that has bloomed and flourished in this garden during this past season, provision has been made for new and more abundant life."

So Jesus died that we might have life more abundantly also.  I love how nature can teach us so many object lessons that we can learn and grow from if we only avail ourselves to them and allow them to teach us.


I'm grateful for another season in which to celebrate Christ's birth- and His death- the ultimate sacrifice for his creation!

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2 comments:

  1. Lovely, as usual, Heather. Both in words and in photography.

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  2. "It takes death to give life."

    These words truly grabbed my attention. It's logic that I don't think about automatically, yet there is much truth to them.

    This was a beautiful story to read. It filled me with much hope and inspiration.

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