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The Winter Birch (a Christmas catalyst for remembering Christ all year long)

My husband and I sit in the car, taking a small road trip to Louisville. It’s a quiet ride where the eyes rove the landscape: taking in the birch trees, the pallid winter sky, the dotted line between lanes flying past. The long ride is lost is easy conversation.

My husband wonders . . .

What if the Christmas season laid the foundation for looking Jesus-ward all year long?

A sort of catalyst?

My eyes flick back to the countryside. And to the white birch—bare-skinned in the blanched winter, glowing amidst the sleeping brown trees surrounding it. The birch tree, who, when the world is frigid cold, frosted over, sits on the hill like a beacon of hope, pure white and shining.

Just like the Holy Beacon become Babe-in-manger.

Maybe it’s the glowing humility of the birch that so points me to Christ. The leafless beauty that stands tall, stands out. That catches the eye of the traveling stranger, who, though flying fast in a car on the highway, catches the white wonder in the peripheral and pauses to reflect.

Yes, Christmas as a catalyst. A holy resolution to look solely at Jesus, all year long.

This is Our Jesus:

Who lay in a manger, far beneath the stars He spoke into existence.

Who started small and speechless, yet remained the Word of God.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

This is the God we serve and adore. The One we fall in holy reverence before. The One who came humbly and will return in exaltation.

So often beauty (and holiness) is found in the humble, leafless places. It's a beauty that is present all along, in every season, but blossoms without any bloom at all. Like the Incarnate Deity bottled up in human body. Born to die. Born to rise again. Born to breathe “yes” into the promises of God.

This season is our time to look fresh on salvation with wonder and awe. So let us see Your life, Lord Jesus, and never look away.


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