How do we grow?
This week we have seen news reports of terrible wind disasters across the US. Kentucky has had entire towns leveled. Colorado has had the tops of trees broken off.
I saw trees growing in the mountains of Montana this past August, and I was struck by how focused they are on their growth. They put all their energy into the tops of themselves, and let older branches drop off as they grow taller and taller. Their trunks are focused on reaching to the light, and they let go of their past as they grow.
This reminded me of a phrase I heard from another pastor: we can stand on our history, or we can be buried by our history. These trees stand on the growth in their trunks to lift their crowns and branches higher and higher, but they aren't burdened by old branches hanging around. They stand on their past and reach for their future.
In Colossians 2:6-7 we are reminded to "live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught." We establish our roots in Jesus' grace and love, and that feeds our trunk as we reach to God's light with thanksgiving.
But as we grow, do we keep reaching for the light? Or do we get comfortable with certain branches that we've grown along the years? Do we want to hold on tightly to something whose time has past? Are we ready to let go of old branches and reach for the new creation Jesus offers us? In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are reminded that "if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!"
It can be scary to let go of things that we are familiar with. Becoming a new creation can be hard and awkward and uncomfortable. But Jesus offers us so much more! A gift of eternal life that never ends, a gift of new possibilities.
As we prepare to receive the gift of God's joy, love, peace and hope this Christmas season, let us also prepare to let go of the old, and reach for the new.
Peace + Grace,
Pastor Anna-Lisa Hunter
December 16, 2021