It was the most beautiful Christmas tree we had ever had. Tall, full, and completely symmetrical, it looked good from every angle. There were no gaping bare spots that we’d have to fill in with ornaments. No flat side that we’d have to hide in the corner. It was perfect.
What made this discovery border on the miraculous was that our family was living in Guatemala that year. At twelve years old, I knew enough to realize that pine trees and fir trees don’t grow in a tropical Central American climate! So we were all shocked to discover a cluster of full, pungent-smelling evergreens in Guatemala City’s central market a few weeks before Christmas – and at a very good price!
With great excitement, my brothers and I decorated our gorgeous tree with strings of colored lights and handmade ornaments of gold-painted macaroni and small photos bordered in red and green glittery frames. But after only two or three days, some of the needles started turning brown and falling off. In less than a week our once full and vibrant Christmas tree was looking bare and scraggly. We were distressed. What was wrong?
Life-Giving Water… Made Futile
Peering between the brittle needles, we finally discovered the source of the problem. The now-dying limbs were actually branches cut from another evergreen, nailed to a straight trunk in the shape of a Christmas tree. No matter how much water we put in the base of the tree, none of it was getting to the branches and pine needles. There was no life flowing through this tree. Our tree was dead on arrival.
Like that ill-fated Christmas tree, often I give the appearance that I’ve got it all together and I’m doing fine on my own. My branches look like they’re green and vibrant. But when my own strength quickly dries up and I feel that I’m starting to wilt, I have to ask myself, “Have I spent time drinking from the water of God’s Word today?” That’s the only source that can revive my soul.
What about you? Is there life flowing through your branches? Or are you slowly decaying from the inside? The health of your “branches” and “needles”- your words, your actions, your relationships – depends on your source of nourishment. Soak up the life-giving water found in the pages of the Bible, so that you will be “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither!” (Psalm 1:3, NIV).