So, I wonder if you've heard about the 75-foot-tall tree that arrived last week in front of Rockefeller Plaza? As the crane lowered the tree into its new home for the next month, it looked like it had just come through 2020! The bottom limbs appeared bare and its needles hung limply, as if it weren’t quite ready for Christmas. On top of all its other struggles, it leaned to the side as if to say "I’m through with this year!”
I have a feeling most of us have felt a bit scraggly over the course of these COVID months. Maybe you have hung your head a bit limply at times as you donned your face one more time with a mask. Perhaps you’ve felt a bit off balance in your life, just like the scraggly tree?
The story of this tree reminded me of one of my favorite passages found in John 15:4-5: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
The secret of us human beings being fruitful, as Jesus spoke about in John 15, is to abide in Jesus, to stay connected to Him. That’s not as easy as it sounds! Our natural tendency is to live life for ourselves and seek our own happiness. But the One connected to Jesus has given His life to Jesus and is committed to following Him. We realize that we don’t have to live the Christian life on our own power, but instead, staying connected to the vine.
The Rockefeller tree is not down-and-out like most people think. With water, some beautiful lights and holiday trim, it will look amazing! So, no matter how discouraged or defeated or down-and-out you might feel today, please remember that Jesus is inviting you to connect with His life. Abide in Him. Happy Thanksgiving!
Nancy Abbott is the Chaplain of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio.