Faith in Fairfield / Tend roots of Christmas season all year
Editor's note: Following is another installment in the continuing series, Faith in Fairfield, featuring contributions from the many communities of faith in town. For information, contact John Schwing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It happened years ago, but it could have happened today.
Dennis was preparing Christmas decorations for his father's restaurant in Erie, Pa., a place where snow still settles heavily on streets and sidewalks each December. He decided that year to set up a big spruce tree -- the biggest he could haul in his old pickup from the nearby swamp -- in front of the restaurant. Then Dennis decorated it with multicolored lights and glistening ornaments.
It was a beauty to behold, and customers commented on how it was that Christmas tree had caught their attention and caused them to stop and turn into the restaurant's parking lot. Sometimes customers simply stopped for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie so they could enjoy the view of the Christmas tree through the restaurant's large picture window.
As the month changed from December to January, Dennis and his dad redecorated that evergreen tree with bird feeders, and customers once again flocked to their family restaurant to see a new spectacle, now brightly colored songbirds including cardinals roosting on the branches of the tree. And then the snows melted and spring came. Crocuses and daffodils began to bloom, and the restaurant's front lawn became an emerald green, but needles on the once-attractive evergreen began to yellow, dry up and fall off, and Dennis wondered what went wrong.
One day it dawned on him. He remembered that when he had taken the spruce tree from the swamp, he hadn't dug it up roots and all. No, he had cut the tree near its base, and when he had set it up in front of the restaurant he had dug a deep hole only to hold the tree firmly in the ground. Freezing winter weather and then melting snow had kept the Christmas tree green, but when the front lawn had dried up with springtime's sunshine, there were no roots to keep the tree thriving.
After hearing that story, I remembered thinking that it was metaphor for some celebrations of Christmas. As long as there are Christmas decorations, caroling, cookies and Christmas parties and gift-giving, the season lifts up people's spirits, but what happens when the season changes and the reoccurrence of drier times comes again. I suspect it depends on whether you have roots or not to weather them.
In what are you rooted? My prayer for you is the Apostle Paul's prayer for the early Christians in Ephesus: "I pray that out of his glorious riches God may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ ..." Ephesians 3:16-18.
Christmas services at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church will take place Friday, Dec. 24 as follows: 5 p.m. Children's Christmas Pageant and celebration of Holy Communion; 10 p.m. music by the Choir and the Musicum Collegium, the Strings; 10:30 p.m. Holy Communion and Candlelight.