Pastor’s Corner: Tree of Joy

January 3, 2018

Many years ago I knew a man named Gordon. He was bright and funny, a skilled architect, and a person with a lot of joy to share. We met when he and I both served as counselors at Pilgrim Lodge, the summer camp of the Maine Conference UCC. I’d only see him for that week of camp, plus a couple hours beforehand when our deans would pull us together and try to get us prepared for our time with a hundred and ten junior high students.

It wasn’t much time to know him before he died of AIDS a couple years later.

After the funeral, many of us went back to Gordon’s house – those after-funeral gatherings are almost always in homes in New England, rather than at the church or funeral home here. There we found not one, not two, but (I think) five Christmas trees standing in various rooms, all decorated and glowing. They were all artificial, which seemed odd in the Pine Tree State. And it wasn’t even close to Christmas.

Some years before, I learned, Gordon and his partner had reached the end of the Christmas season and simply run out of energy. So the Christmas tree stayed up. Visitors at first didn’t comment, but then began to ask, and of course it became a joke: the house with the year-round Christmas tree.

The next year they added another. And it didn’t come down, either.

Living with a terminal condition, Gordon wisely seized on joy. It might not be Christmas until he died, but by heaven he would hold Christmas in his heart and home until he died. The Christmas trees were not the source of his joy, but the sign of it and the reminder of it.

Now, I will take down my Christmas tree after the Christmas season ends and put the lights and ornaments away until next year. But may we all adopt Gordon’s wisdom, and never put away our joy in living, in loving, and in the birth of Jesus.

Once again: Mele Kalikimaka! Hau’oli makahiki hou!

With aloha,

Pastor Eric


Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on January 21, 2018

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply

close window

Service Times & Directions

Sunday School Classes

Sunday 8:45 am

Sunday Worship Service

Sunday 10:00 am

Adult Bible Study

Monday 6:30 pm, Wednesday 9:00 am

(International Young Adults Association)
Bible Study

Wednesday 7:30 pm

The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga

(The Rev. Tevita) Sunday 1:00 pm Wednesday 7:00 pm (Sanctuary)

The United Church of Christ, Pohnpei - Hilo

(The Rev. Ichiro) Sunday 10:00 am (Bdg. of Faith)

The Samoan Church

(The Rev. Sunia) Sunday 4:00 pm (Sanctuary)

440 W. Lanikaula Street
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 935-1283