When we moved to the South nearly ten years ago, one of the biggest transitions for me was experiencing a warm Advent and Christmas. Everything still relatively green, mild days with no jackets, no snow or ice in sight. For me, an Eastern European who has weathered winters in Chicago and Minnesota, this was strange. I missed the cold, dark world and bare trees which helped me enter into the spirit of Advent.
One of the joys of buying our first home in the South was that it came with three satsuma trees. Late fall and early winter find the branches heavy with golden citrus goodness. I rarely do anything to the trees, and yet each year they produce and produce. They have become a sign of grace for me. Undeserved, the gift is there, blessing our family each year.
Had I continued to see bare trees as the only proper sign of Advent, I would have missed the satsumas. Like the orchard of Lebanon, they are a sign of God’s gifts, providence, and blessings. Their abundant fruit fills me with gratitude, and gratitude is a way to prayer. Orange orbs, cheerful and bright, they are heralding the Light of the World in their own way. Thank God my eyes were opened.