Many people are enjoying a Christmas tree in their homes this time of year, often a pine or fir in the European tradition. That’s true of our family, as well. But Christmas aside, I have been partial to the redwood tree for years now, not only because of its beauty but also because you can see its growth. Whatever its internal processes, the new tips show bright green against the darker, older branches.
So the redwood is a great metaphor for Christian growth. To the degree that we are open, the spiritual growth we experience comes from something deep within us: a dynamic, God-prompted relationship that moves us from stability to change. If we are listening and responsive, it reshapes us in some small way that begins to show in our relationship with others or in the way we interact with the world. The new-green tips are visible to those who have eyes to see.
In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul recognizes this inside-to-outside process in a prayer for us all. He says, “I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through God’s Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” This is my prayer for you, as well, in this Christmas season.
Your partner in ministry,