Many families develop traditions that are exclusive to them. Let me tell you about our family tradition that is special to us, and maybe not traditionally traditional. It involves both Christmas and Easter.
Each year just before Christmas the family goes out and searches for the ‘perfect’ live Christmas tree. After Christmas, as more needles drop and branches droop, the somewhat sad tree gets relegated to a corner of the back yard, where it gets dryer and dryer. But then at Easter time it gets loaded on a trailer, and then it’s on its way to the river, with all the camping paraphernalia for our, also, traditional Easter camp, with family and friends. The various kids can hardly wait, not just for the holiday but for a very special event.
On that first evening, when the camp fire is well alight that old dry Christmas tree, is thrown onto the fire. It springs to glorious new life, crackling and popping and lighting up the sky. It reflects on our faces. It heats our bodies. The little kids squeal with the delight of it all, and we love the spectacle too.
What does this wonderful light remind us of? Maybe the enthusiasm that must have greeted the news of God’s birth at Christmas time. But at Easter for us, it reminds us that out of death, comes a wonderful, all-encompassing great light. As the tree burns it throws light on to our faces and heats us up, but that is nothing compared to that light that can shine in our hearts and heat our hearts and lives forever. Just as the tree was dead and sprang into a glorious new life (although temporary), so Jesus’ rising from the dead, arose as a glorious new light that stays with us forever.
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.’ John 1:5