Christmas has been a long time coming . . . and while I don’t usually have a Christmas tree, I do have a ceramic nativity set I painted as a project with two friends, some 25 years ago.
But for a couple of months now, I’ve had the idea that I would like something resembling the symbol of a Christmas tree, but with more of a rustic feel: I like the idea of a tree branch to stand decorated in one corner of my lounge room.
So I asked around a couple of friends, and was told of some public land I could explore for a little ‘seek and may you find’ adventure. So that was my Sunday afternoon adventure a couple of weeks ago . . . at the end of a winding road, with only a couple of houses, I pulled up at a locked gate, accessing the public property by carefully sliding between the locked gate and what looked like an electric fence.
Walking along the track, scanning the area for a suitable branch, I came a cross a tree with some fallen branches, some still attached to the tree, others completely broken free. After careful inspection for undesired company, I pulled on the end of one branch, separating it out from the other fallen branches and all their dead foliage. This would be the piece!
After trimming the branch of all its dead foliage and many of its finer twigs in order to remove the excess, I carried it to the car. Should I paint it silver? No, on closer inspection I like the colouring of the wood in its reds and browns and even some black areas, as if it’s been struck by fire at some time, but it all adds to the overall look.
And so we have the Christmas branch:
In thinking of a tree, every branch has its own ‘reach’ out from the trunk, be it primarily so, or secondary, via another branch.
A branch only has the reach that it has by way of its growth and the strength with which it extends out from the trunk.
While much of the tree was still standing, some of those branches that had fallen (like this one) were completely separate from the trunk, while others though fallen, were still attached to the trunk.
And just like this piece I bought home, some branches are still marked by fires experienced in years past.
This year of 2020 and Covid19 has been like that of a ‘through the fire’ experience for all of us in different ways, but some more significantly so than others. And not forgetting or diminishing the actual fires that devastated so many towns just prior to what ‘they’ call a pandemic, 2020 is one we won’t forget.
So in this Christmas season, but at any time really, I encourage us all to consider :
Where are we on the tree?
Are we still strong and attached?
Or are we still just barely hanging on to some degree?
Or maybe we are one of the fallen, completely separated from the trunk?
If you are somehow ‘faliing’ or ‘fallen’ and needing to reach up to someone, make the reach that you can, where you can, however you can. Seek to find your trunk again. Whether that’s by reconnecting back in to a space or a place you were, or in finding a new space and place of connection. But don’t let disconnection be the thing that blocks you from moving forward to discovering your next adventure.
My fallen tree branch is now a Christmas branch, so what more for you? Just because you disconnected, doesn’t mean it’s all over!
If you are one that is still strong and attached to the trunk, then I encourage us to consider the extent of our reach out to those who may be in need. Those whose shadow we are under, those we shadow over, and wherever else we have the ability to reach.
What do we have to reach out with? (without over extending ourselves financially or emotionally, how can we reach out beyond ourselves, to look out for another?)
Who can we reach out to? (that our words and actions might have influence for both good and God.)
Don’t breach your reach
(but with the capacity that you have, do something)
But reach your preach!
(that you would encourage and bless someone in need)
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