A story upon which to reflect on Christmas Day reminding us that we can never separate the manger from the cross of Jesus.
It was a beautiful spring day in northern Florida as a young man, his wife and their children were driving to visit the young man’s father. The children were preoccupied with video games in the back seat while the wife was reading a book from her Kindle. The wife looked up and noticed her husband straining to look out of her passenger window when his eyes should have been focused on the road. She inquired what was so interesting and he quickly dismissed her question … saying, “Oh, it was nothing!”
A little later the wife noticed her husband behaving the same way , only this time some tears were streaming from his eyes. She asked him again what was wrong. This time he admitted he was thinking of his father and a story he used to tell him.
The husband related that when he was a preschooler, his father took him out in the backyard and pointed to a stand of pine trees in the distance. The father said, “Son, the pine trees know when it is Easter.” The boy wanted to know how. The father explained, “A few weeks before Easter each year, pine trees start their new growths. The trees send up yellow shoots. As Easter draws nearer, the tallest shoot will branch off from the others and form a cross. By Easter morning you notice that the tallest shoots have formed small yellow crosses.”
At that moment the wife turned to look out her window and to her amazement she saw the golden crosses stretching toward heaven. The rays of the sun glistened on the pine crosses and then the wife suddenly felt some tears streaming down her own face … marveling at this sign in nature of God’s greatest gift of love for the world. Those pine crosses remind us of Jesus stretching out His arms on the cross and dying there so that you and I may receive forgiveness of our sins and become heirs of eternal life.
O God, on this Christmas Day amidst the joy keep us mindful that we cannot separate the manger from the cross. The baby Jesus grew to be a young man and He died on that cross for us. We thank You that Jesus loved us so much then and loves us still. We celebrate His birthday, but we are the ones who have received the gift! In His name, we pray. Amen.
Want to see pine trees with gold crosses at Easter? Then contact Dr. Jim and Ellie Threlkel who have some on or adjoining their property.