Trees are one of the most common elements of great mythological stories. Somehow they show up in stories from nearly every culture. Perhaps it is because they are so prevalent across our world. I expect you can find trees on every continent except Antartica (and I would not be surprised if someone had a small bonsai tree in an office down there. Literature is full of them in prominent roles from the Garden of Eden to the mythology of the Vikings. From the Redwoods of California to the maple saplings that get trampled underfoot, trees surround our lives everywhere.
We eat their fruit and build our homes from their bodies. We enjoy the shade of their leaves and admire the beauty and scent of their blossoms… well, some of them anyway. We decimate them and repurpose their particles into paper, which has held out hopes and dreams, our histories and debts for centuries. Nations and have risen and fallen with ink on paper, through the life of a tree.
At the end of time, when the world is finally fully judged and redeemed, Revelation tells us that there will be a tree whose leaves will bring us healing. I have wondered if this is the same tree that was in the Garden of Eden. This could be a contender for one of the best trees. Maybe you have a tree of your own that is your favorite – perhaps one you climbed as a child or that holds a hammock you enjoy reading in. Maybe your favorite tree is an evergreen that you decorate in these winter months, or a fruit tree you harvest in the late summer months.
Sometimes we ascribe thoughts and feelings to these trees, or a sentimental value that cannot be scientifically proven. Some people may toss this out as nonsense, claiming “a tree is a tree”. However, there is enough evidence to at least recognize the presence of trees in important parts of our lives, even if we cannot know what thoughts and feelings they might have, if any at all. They are there, as a part of God’s plan, in our lives.
I leave you today with a video that shows my favorite trees, perhaps some of the most important trees in my life.