Rev. Caroline Noll, Associate Pastor, Pastor for Children and Families

The seasons are changing.

A new year. A new president. New vaccines.

Christmas has come and gone.

And Epiphany.

And we’re planning for Lent.

And my tree is still up.

The ornaments are packed up.

The nativities have been wrapped up.

The snowmen and penguins and stockings are boxed up.

But the tree remains.

It is currently covered in handmade paper snowflakes.

I expect come February it will be adorned with paper hearts.

Because my kids remembered a story.

I told them about a colleague of mine, the minister of music at the church where I served in the Houston area many years ago, who one year left her tree up the whole year.

With all that was going on in her life, in the church, and with family, she just never got around to taking it down after Christmas.

And then it was Easter.

And then it was summer.

And then she thought, well, by the time I take it down now I’ll just be putting it right back up!

So she left it up. The whole year.

My kids remembered. They begged. Please! Can we leave the tree up!

I guess if there was ever a season to make joyful memories, this is it.

So now that I have this tree in my living room, I wonder…

Well, I wonder how I’m going to dust it.

I wonder if my neighbors will be curious.

I wonder if it will bring joy to my children, excited at creating new decorations throughout the year. 

I wonder how often it will bring to mind other stories of those early days in Houston.

Stories of friends, of nurture, of beginnings.

I wonder if it might be a symbol of steadiness in our lives that seem to change by the week, by the day, sometimes by the hour.

I wonder how often we will tell each other that the evergreen in our midst reminds us of an even greater everlasting life, centered in Christ, the Christ-mas tree now in the center of every season.

I wonder what other practices we have and will discover to center ourselves, to ground ourselves, to stay rooted to who we are and who we were created to be.

I wonder how often it will make us smile.

I wonder what new stories will be born of this story.

The seasons are changing.

The story continues.

The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

Thanks be to God.

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