In late November as I walked along Hearthwood Boulevard a little tree caught my eye. I saw a bit of green so I stopped to look more carefully. Just days earlier I had been admiring the reds and golds of leaves changing color, though by the time I saw this tree many had begun to lose their leaves. Sure enough, however, this tree, was sending out small green leaves. I took this photo that shows the green leaves in the foreground, with golden leaves on other trees in the background.
Climate change has led to warmer temperatures that mix up the seasons. I’m no scientist, but I suspect that plays a part in this phenomenon. I am a student of the Bible with some background in theology, so I see parables in everyday things and out of the ordinary things. Jesus did the same thing, often turning to Creation to find spiritual truths.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tree,” Jesus might have said. A tree that puts out new leaves when other trees are losing theirs. A tree that bears signs of hope and new life even in the midst of despair and death. This has been a hard year: the pandemic and all that has taken from us, racial injustice, wildfires and hurricanes, and so much more. And just when it seems like hope is dropping its leaves, God offers us a sign of something new. It is too early to know how soon the new coronavirus vaccines will have a significant impact on the spread of the virus but their approval gives me hope. While hospitals around the nation are at or near capacity, hospitals in Vancouver seem to be at normal rates. While the virus rate in Clark County is high, we seem to be stemming the spread enough that we are not (at least right now) overtaxing our medical providers. I’m hesitant to put too much weight on that because we know that can get worse very quickly if people put down their guard, but I do see a glimmer of hope there.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tree. Beauty comes at both the start of new life and at the end. The trees that were about to lose their leaves did so in a blaze of glory with all those magnificent colors. Trees that are just leafing out do so with a different kind of glory as bits of green brighten up the drabness of winter. And sometimes they surprise us.