I love going up to my owner’s bedroom, because I get a wonderful view of our village and the green, rolling hills all around. While I’m strutting my stuff up and down on his window sill, there’s one very large Beech Tree which always catches my eye. At this time of year, it looks like “an upside-down tree” because it doesn’t have any leaves. But come the Spring and the Summer, it’s seemingly dead branches explode into a glorious green canopy.
I often wonder how many leaves there are on that tree. They must number at least 80,000 by the time we get to the month of May. For by then, these leaves will have erupted in an extraordinary act of green vibrancy. A collective statement of new life, new beginnings, and new hope. And it’s all so hard to believe when I look out at that tree on a cold, wet January morning.
And you know, humans are a bit like the leaves on that tree. Because mathematicians tells us that in the UK, an average human is likely to meet over 80,000 different people during their lifetime. That’s enough to fill the Olympic Stadium in London. Every year, my owner sends out lots of Christmas cards and a Christmas circular to some of those people that he’s decided to stay in touch with. Old friends, neighbours, work colleagues……. And sadly, at this time of year, -post Christmas, - he receives some letters back saying that some of these folk passed away earlier in the year.
Thinking back to the Beech Tree, I know that every green leaf on that tree will eventually turn brown, shrivel and finally fall off. And if that’s how it were all to end, then Life would indeed be so very sad. But it doesn’t end like that. The branches may seem cold, stark and bare right now, but beneath the surface, new life is waiting to emerge. And that’s how it will be for my owner, and for so many of the friends and acquaintances that he has made throughout his lifetime. This extraordinary Beech Tree is a living symbol of the promise of life that awaits us after our apparent death. We’re all part of a process, a cycle, and a pattern crafted by God. And like the leaves on that tree, so many of us will re-emerge once more, -fresh, new, vibrant and totally alive!
“And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground, -trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden was the Tree of Life……” Genesis 2:9
“Jesus said to her: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die………’ ” John 11:25