by Vern Anstee 

I grew up on a farm in Upstate New York. The Christmas season was always a special time because it involved going out to our very own large grove of evergreens to harvest the perfect tree for our house. Dad directed the job of putting up the tree and insuring it was securely tied to prevent possible tip-over while being decorated. History had shown the results of NOT tying the tree before allowing five kids to attack it with a decorating flurry! Yes, in an earlier Christmas the partially decorated tree did fall over on top of my little brother who was freaked out but unharmed! 

Often, I think back to being a ten-year-old helping my father plant several thousand pine tree seedlings and watching them grow year by year into sturdy young trees. When the trees were large enough to make good Christmas trees, Dad put out the word to friends and neighbors–“You are welcome to come cut your own tree. If you’re able to pay a dollar per foot for the tree, the money will be given to the Love Fund at our local Methodist church. If not, please come get a tree anyway.” Dad believed that even though we had planted the seedlings, it was God who grew them into beautiful trees and we thanked Him for the grace and love He placed in each tree. Making those trees available to families was Dad’s way of sharing God’s love with others. 

So, throughout this time of Advent, let’s all remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” May His love and grace be with you this Advent Season and may you share this love with others now and all year long!