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trees make shade. 

tiffany garza

I had been asked over summer to do a little Christmas project for the girls at Mercy Multiplied, which I happily agreed too, assuming it would be done long before December approached. But that did not happen, so this past week I finished up our Inspire Gatherings for the year and went on my way wrapping up some Christmas cheer, with some bumps along the way. 

As I had prayed about what to do, this message of trees and growth and shade came to mind, as trees are such a part of American Christmas celebrations, so I thought I would share it here with you, too. 

In the bible, trees are often used to symbolize a person being rooted in God and righteousness. Someone who is truly growing in relation and faith with him. Someone who trusts in him.

As trees grow, some lose their bark like the sycamore, redbud, silver maple, shagbark hickory, and birch. This usually is not an indication that anything is wrong, rather a visual sign it is outgrowing its skin to allow its trunk to enlarge. However, in some cases, it can be harmful if insects or cold weather attack in the process.

While we are growing in to our relationship with God and learning his heart and hearing his voice, we are shedding our old self and growing spiritually. Our eyes are being opened to sin in our lives, healing and forgiveness that needs to take place and we start producing fruit of the Spirit. The enemy will try to squeeze through the cracks during this process of growth telling us lies and bringing up the past, just as insects and the cold try attack the tree, so we must focus intensely on the Truth of God’s word.

The interesting thing about trees is that as they are growing and maturing, they are constantly giving to others. They make shade for the beasts of the field and provide food for animals and places for birds to make their homes (Daniel 4:11-12). They become a gathering place for others.

This is the sort of life that God wants to instill in each of us. He wants us to be thriving and growing in him. Constantly learning more about who he is and revealing those characteristics in ourselves in order to be able to set us free from lies of the enemy and be a source of freedom for others. He wants us to be fruitful trees that are planted in the house of the Lord, drinking of his life giving water.

Praying that your roots would continue to grow in Christ and that you would seek him and find him and bask in his grace this Christmas season.Praying that you would make shade for others as you follow him. Praying that if have never experienced Christmas in the light of Jesus that this year you would have new eyes to see the beauty of the God of the universe being born on earth to die for your sins. All because of love. Because he loves you. Here's to roots and growth and Christmas.

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:8

If you would like to dive deeper in this short study, you can download a study guide for free here

Originally posted in The Inspire Monthly newsletter, December 2017.