Advent Joy in Trees, by Rev. Adam--Monday, Dec. 9

Daily Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging!"

Walking through a home improvement store or by a church with an outdoor Christmas fundraiser, or in our house if we choose to have a real Christmas tree, we get to inhale the aroma of pine.  Be it spruce or fir, their smell likely takes us back to some of our earliest, and hopefully fondest, memories of the season (smells invoke memories more powerfully than any other sense).
I find Advent joy in decorating a tree and, by way of memory and the connections of smells, connecting the preparations of my childhood with those of adulthood.
I find Advent joy in realizing that that aroma of Christmas trees is actually around all the time, but we rarely notice it during other times of the year.  Just like we probably don't pay attention to evergreen trees as much during the warmer months but we see them more in winter when their deciduous counterparts stand naked in contrast to the fully clothed pines.  Then we realize that these amazing trees bless our Creation all year 'round, and this can bring us joy.
And I find joy in realizing that God's presence is really with us all year 'round, but in this time when we yearn for Christmas and are urged by our faith tradition to wait to fully celebrate until December 25th, that our love for God can be intensified and our appreciation for the gifts of life and love can grow even more.  We can find joy in the coming of Christ, like the shoot from the stump of Jesse, the branch that grows out of his roots to be an everlasting source of hope, love and joy.
So during Advent, I find joy in the smell of the Christmas tree, its unchanging leaves, and surprising yet unchanging love of God through the baby Jesus, our Emmanuel.

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