Monday, December 5, 2016

The Vine and the Branches

One of the first Christmas decorations I put out is the Christmas tree. Since we have a natural-looking tree that is artificial, we don't have to worry about it drying out. The first task is choosing the location and second is bringing the huge bag to the spot where we will assemble the tree. This has always been my job and I am always very careful when I pack away the tree, to group all the branches from each level together so I know where they go. They are color-coded but the color seems to disappear after time making it a challenge to fit branches where they belong.

I had a helper this year, my beloved husband volunteered. He is colorblind and he failed to understand how the branches were grouped together. After I assembled the stand I turned around to find six or seven piles of branches spread around the room and he was removing branches one-by-one from the bag and placing them on a stack, attempting to match the length of the branches. Though it was a bit of a challenge we eventually connected all the branches into the center trunk and erected a fairly well-shaped tree.

It is only when the branches are connected to the trunk that they are able to support the lights, ornaments and tinsel. With a live cut tree the branches receive life-sustaining water by being connected to the trunk. The branch will die and become brown and brittle if it is severed from its life-source. As I look at our Christmas tree I am reminded of the life-giving vine I am connected to: Jesus Christ. During this Advent season I am diligently focused on keeping my relationship connection with Him.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches" (John 15:1-5a NIV).

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