Bringing the Text to Life

Christ the Apple Tree Isaiah 11:1-10

Job 14:7 proclaims "For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease." This is the season where gilded trees and gleaming hopes both move into the midst of our homes and our lives. In the midst of this celebration, remember Dominus regnavit a ligno - "The Lord reigned from a tree."

Sometime in the next week or two, if we haven't already, most of us will succumb to a combination of nostalgia, our children's pesterings and cultural peer pressure. We will venture out to some Boy Scout compound or "cut-your-own" tree farm to get a Christmas tree. Million of evergreens, from the tiny to the tremendous, will be sacrificed for a few weeks of home, office and shopping mall decoration. Growing Christmas trees is now a huge industry, dedicated to producing acre after acre of perfectly symmetrical, closely-clipped, firm and bushy tree clones - varying from each other only in height. Finding an endearingly scruffy "Charlie Brown" tree has become virtually impossible. Every tree has been pinched and pruned into a perfect isosceles triangle, like some child's primitive drawing.

Trees have always fascinated people. They have appeared in image and poem and story from the earliest days of human civilization. From biblical texts we hear the praises of the strength and beauty of...

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