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New Year and Paintbrushes

Chaplain Bill Wolfe

Hello, and welcome to the Chaplain’s Corner 2010. New Year’s 2010! Wow. I can still remember back in high school when I thought the year 2000 was so far in the future that it would never get here. (I say that every year, don’t I?)

New Year and Paintbrushes. Now, I bet there’s at least one person out there who’s wondering if I’ve lost it. Twice now I’ve done January articles on bluebonnets and this time it’s paintbrushes! (No, this isn’t about a hubby who committed “suicide by spouse” by giving her a paint brush and a gallon of house paint for Christmas.)

What got my full-while-I-am-driving attention about a week and a half ago was a paintbrush plant in full bloom. Now that wouldn’t be such an attention getter if it were March, but that was the weekend before Christmas! And the plant was blooming its heart out amongst all the frost-dead grasses on the slope just above the bar ditch that was mowed just a couple of weeks ago. “Well,” I said to myself, “there’s a sermon in THERE somewhere.”

I could find a Christmas message pretty easily, but with Christmas now in the past, can we find something in it for a New Year’s message? Yes, otherwise I’d be talking about something else, wouldn’t I?

OK, Joe, here we go…

First an obvious observation or two about what the seed can’t know or do. The seed can’t read a calendar. It doesn’t know it’s not supposed to grow and flourish in December. The seed doesn’t care what the past weather was and can’t know what the weather will be in the future. Because it’s a seed, it can’t be aware of or concerned about what the plants around it are doing. And they (the other plants) can’t dampen the paintbrush seed’s enthusiasm. What the seed does “know” is that the sun, water and temperature all say, “Grow!”

So, the application? Unlike the seed, we are aware of our “surroundings.” Things are looking depressing in Washington, just like the winter-dead hillside. We may have had “hard freezes” in our recent past that have withered the joy of living that we once had. Like the seed, we can’t see what the future holds.

Each of us has a "spiritual seed” within us. It’s a seed that can be touched by the warmth of the Son and be watered by the Holy Spirit. God’s touch can cause that seed of faith to grow and bloom regardless of the “weather” or the decision of those around us not to grow. When I noticed that flower, it was as if God was sending me a message of hope. If I will reach out to towards the light of the Son and soak up the water He provides, my life can blossom even in “December” and into “January.” (The New Testament describes the Word of God and the Holy Spirit both as “water”.)

Frank said we’ve still got a few minutes before roll call and wondered about the “Christmas” part of the illustration. OK…

One of the thoughts that first struck me about the flower was “it was born to die.” It is inevitable that a frost is going to kill that plant. Just like the plant, Jesus was born to die. God the Father knew it, just as sure as I know frost will kill that paintbrush. Christmas and Easter were part of the same plan from the beginning.

Then the thought that Jesus came when He was least expected, just like the plant. One had to be looking at the right place at the right time to spot the plant. There was just that one. The same with Jesus.

Well, I’ve rambled long enough for now. I hope you had a nice holiday season and have a Happy New Year. Thanks for keeping me company for the past year and I’m looking forward to having you ride along in 2010. Blessings to you and yours. Oh, and by the way…it’s looking like a tremendous bluebonnet season coming this year!

Chaplain Bill

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