I had a steaming cup of coffee warming my hands while I sat and watched little fat squirrels chasing each other through the canopy of trees in our backyard. Almost all of the leaves had dropped creating a thick layer over the grass. The sun had not been up long enough to melt the delicate frost from the fallen foliage.
This is the magic formula for happier mornings at our house. It involves my back porch, coffee, a pen, journal and my Bible. Nothing fancy, but it gives me so much joy that even on mornings when it is 35 degrees outside, (that’s about as cold as it gets here in East Texas) I will bundle up like the kid from ‘A Christmas Story’ for some porch sittin’. There is beauty in every season; you may have to look harder in some seasons than others, but I assure you, it’s there. Looking up at the trees in my backyard I could see just a few branches with dead leaves still hanging on. The trees look so bare without their leaves, but they must drop them to make room for new ones to grow in the spring.
As we begin the new year I wonder how many dead leaves I am still hanging onto.
I thought of this after reading through the story of Jesus’ birth recorded in Luke. There are a few verses nestled in there about Simeon, an old devout prophet, and Anna, a prayer warrior, fasting, prophetess. Both were very old but eagerly waiting on the Messiah to come. For their devotion, they were rewarded. They got to see young Jesus in their last days. Just as the winter trees let go of all their dead leaves, Simeon and Anna had let go of all the hurts one can build up in 84+ years on Earth. They were ready for new growth. They were ready to meet their redeemer.
Over and over we are told in scripture to keep our eyes forward toward what is to come.
I encourage you to examine your own tree and determine if you have any stubborn leaves still hanging on as I do. Let’s drop our leaves as this year comes to a close so that the coming year is ready for new and beautiful growth.
…One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV