We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
~ 1 Corinthians 13:12
The winter branches of trees are the visible reminder that we experience times in our life when we find that we are naked or bare.
In our seasons of life we encounter moments of vulnerability. These are times when we reveal to others who we really are inside.
As a child I would often look at the bare trees of winter and discover ways I could climb them in the summer to reach greater heights.
The same could be said if in my own transparency, looking into a mirror, I could see the things that only in the vulnerability God can and does reveal what I have yet to be.
Do not look with human eyes; viewing it as a "stripping away" or "loss." Even the tree must surrender to the seasons in order to know the blooms of spring, the shade of summer, and the crimson of fall. We are no different, moving through the seasons of life.
Although I don't care for the cold. The older I get, the harder it is becoming for my hands to work and for my own woundedness to be hidden. These are the reminders that like the tree of the forest, I too, am aging.
The empty tree reminds me of my own mortality. It is as if they are reminding me to remain faithful. To be strong, and to embrace the warmth of others.
The body of Christ is the living resurrection of the One who came, experienced the seasons as we do, and suffered; not just the injustices that this world seems to endure. Christ came and knew the process of birth, maturation, and ultimately what it meant to be completely vulnerable before crying out, "It is finished" before a crowd who waited and watched.
The winter tree is not the Christmas tree that adorns our homes. No, it is the reminder that in the starkness of a barn, a child was born so that we may know the fulfillment of all the seasons of our lives. There is beauty in vulnerability.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.