In my family’s field there is this holly tree- it’s been there ever since we moved to the farm many years ago. Almost every year around Christmas my awesome sister and/or I go to the tree so we can “deck the halls with boughs of holly.” It’s one of my fondest Christmas traditions. This year has been pretty chaotic and there’s been lots of ups and downs. But as I walked to the holly tree this year, it was comforting to remember all the years before, and how God has delivered me through many storms in years past. Any trials or triumphs this next year might bring, I know God is still in control, and the next time I go to the old holly tree, I’ll again remember the awesome things he’s done since the last time I was there.
In this modern age, we as a society seem to be a bunch of unthankful brats most of the time. I know I am. We are busy attaining more stuff, partying it up in the “now,” or stressing out about the future to think, or much less be thankful, about the past. Sometimes it’s hard to look back, especially if there are painful memories in the past. But even through the hard times you can see God’s hand work in the situation, and it is the hardest parts of life that make you a better person. We can’t just lock away the past in a dusty mind-drawer; we must take a look at them and thank God we that we made it through and became a better person because of them. You wouldn’t get a test back from a teacher and never look through it right? You want to learn from your mistakes- if we take a moment to think back on our lives, we can learn a lot for the future “tests” of life.
It’s good to take a moment before the next year and thank God for getting us through the year- to thank him for all the wonderful blessings in life, for his great great grace and mercy, for not giving up on us, even though we deserve it, and, most importantly, for the cross. It may be a slightly silly reminder, but that holly tree helps to remind me that God is in control, and that he is ever so merciful. Before the year slips into 2015, do some reminiscing- it doesn’t have to be at a holly tree- and then thank God for his grace throughout your life. It sure is evident in mine, and I know I don’t deserve a bit of it.
I wrote a little poem about the holly tree a few days before Christmas and I’m warning you, it might be a little bit corny. But here it is anyway.
The Holly Tree
I’m walking to the Holly tree
For Christmas time is near
My feet wade through the rain soaked grass
I do this every year
I go to cut down shiny holly green
Their Blood red berries too
And as I near it on the path
A memory comes in view
I think of all the year’s events
As I walk up to the tree
The heartbreaks and the triumphs,
The joy and agony
I take a branch of green in hand
And slowly draw my knife
I cut a branch of holly down
While contemplating life
I gather holly in my arms
And think upon old days
I think of storms that have passed away
And I say a prayer of thanks
I hope I’m wiser now since when
I stood here about a year ago
But what lies in the year ahead
God will only know