Dear Parish Family,
Blessed Advent season to you all!
I must admit, this liturgical season is, quite honestly, one of my favorite times of the whole year. It’s reflective and gives me a chance to be still in the midst of the busyness of life around me. It reminds me to shift my focus once again to Jesus, who became small and still for us.
One of my favorite stories, when I was a kid, was the Tale of the Three Trees. This story has been rewritten and retold by many different authors and illustrators, but the basic truth remains the same. The story tells of three trees that all have high hopes and aspirations: one tree desires to be fashioned into a beautiful treasure chest to hold the finest of gold, yet is cut down and made into a feeding trough instead. The second tree desired to be made into a strong ship that would sail faraway seas and hold famous and important travelers, yet is cut down and made into a simple fishing boat, only fit to sail close to home. The third tree only wanted to stay tall and keep growing, so that everyone who passed it would look up towards the heavens, yet this third tree was cut down and fashioned into thick, strong beams.
However, the story doesn’t end there. The first tree that was made into a simple feeding trough? One day a young woman would lay her little son in it and it would hold the greatest treasure in the world.
The second tree would one day carry a weary man, asleep in it’s stern who would then awake to calm a dangerous storm. It would hold the most important of travelers.
And the final tree would later be placed on a man’s shoulders and have his hands nailed to it. And all would eventually look up to that tree and be reminded of heaven.
I have always loved this story, especially this time of year. And just recently someone pointed out to me that this story is true in a way. Because wouldn’t the God who knows the names of all the stars in the sky (and there’s 70 sextillion according to Fr. Chas’ homily!) would also be so thoughtful as to choose each tree that would be made into His manger, the boat He would use throughout His ministry, and the cross that He would bear for our salvation?
And if God is so intentional, so thoughtful in all these minute little details, how much more does he miraculously intervene in our own lives and details, as long as we let Him? My prayer for us all is that we would allow him to work in both our dreams as well as the small everyday realities that we face. I think the Christmas season, if nothing else, can teach us that even in the smallest of ways He is working. If he can use one bright star, one sleepy little town, and yes, a tree, then surely He can use you and me.
To discovering Him in the details together,
Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation