By Wally Plock
This is a guest post from Pastor Wally Plock, the best Santa look-a-like Salvation Army bell ringer. He is a long-time storyteller and pastor with a big mercy gift, working as a prison and hospital chaplain, an associate pastor and a Christian school Bible teacher.
I love maple seeds. When God designed them, I think He was just having fun. They come with their own little helicopter wing and when you scoop up a bunch and throw them up in the air, they spin and float all over the place with a big wink from God. But what do they have to do with the Word of God and Christmas?
First, they remind me of the parable of the sower. The sower sows the seed and it falls in various places-hard foot path, rocky soil, weedy soil and good soil. The maple seeds in my yard have a similar fate. Of the ones that floated to earth in the fall, most ended up on the sidewalk, porch or yard and were swept and raked away. A few landed in the sidewalk cracks and in the spring will sprout and grow until I easily pluck them out before they establish any sizable root. A couple more landed in the flower beds and will also grow a little but will be removed along with the weeds. But a few will have landed along the fence row and will escape detection for a long time.
One such seed landed between the houses barely in my neighbor’s yard. He liked and let it grow from a little one inch sapling to its current 20 feet height. This tree now scatters about a jillion seeds of its own every fall.
Now the Word of God and Christmas connection. When Jesus explained this parable, he said that the seed was the word of God. John also calls Jesus the Word in John 1 through which all things were created by God’s voice–the Word of God. When God sent Jesus (the Word of God) to be birthed into human flesh, He was hoping that it would find good soil.
But Jesus as the Word of God had a similar fate as did the maple seeds in my yard. When Herod heard about the Word of God being born, his heart was hard and his response was to snatch this “seed” away, to kill it before it had a chance to even sprout. God defeated His plan.
Herod’s advisors knew about the prophesied word of God. They knew He was coming and that He would be born in Bethlehem, but their interest was only on the surface. They had no desire in going deeper with God or His plan to plant King David’s seed. Their interest in Jesus quickly withered.
The innkeeper had a place for Jesus, but His mind was on money and business. The Word of God was given a corner. But had the innkeeper known who it was he was sheltering, he would have put Jesus and His family in the best room he had. His response to Jesus was choked by his many distractions.
But there were those who received the word with gladness: Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, the Shepherds, the Magi, Simeon, Anna…. and the Word of God was loved welcomed and is still producing a growing crop.
And to us, for whom this child, this Word of God was born. What is the condition of your soil, your heart? The beautiful thing about the seed or Word of God is that whatever kind of soil you have been in the past, God can make a way for you for to receive the Word of God with gladness.
Has your heart been hard? Ask God to break up your hard heart. Confess your past resistance and ask for His help (See Hosea 10:12, Ezekiel 36:26).
Have you just been skimming the surface with God, not allowing your roots to go deeper? Ask God to give you a deeper desire for Him, to help you pray, to read His life giving word, to memorize it, to seek God in worship and service (See Matthew 7:7-8).
Are there distractions that are getting in the way? The seed that fall among the weeds is actually in good soil, but can’t grow because it is being robbed of nourishment. What needs to go? Pride, dishonesty, lust, addiction, anger, laziness, greed? Ask God to show you and then ask for His help so your soil/heart can allow the Word of God to grow in you. (See Matthew 12:33, Romans 12:2, John 15:5, Galations 5:23-25)
This Christmas season we can hear and see Jesus, the Word of God, in abundance like maple seeds floating to earth on a windy fall day. Let Him in. Go deeper. Make room for Him. Continue to bear fruit.
Let this be our prayer this Christmas: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).