I can’t believe it’s 2020! WHAT?! As a child of the 70s, this is my second millennium, second century and sixth decade to be alive! The passing of time truly confounds me. While I’m grateful to the Lord for His new mercies and a fresh start, I’m also a little sad to see the previous year go. And, I inevitably battle the January blues. We go from the unrelenting hustle and bustle of Christmas right into what feels like the polar vortex of the dreary, weary days of Winter. I have to remind myself, “To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV) Nothing has taught me more about that over the past eight years than owning a Christmas tree farm.

There is so much that goes into successfully growing Christmas Trees. In the past year, we became members of the Tennessee Christmas Tree Growers Association. These are my people. I wore a cute, flannel shirt to the first meeting we attended and fit right in! We’ve learned valuable information from seasoned farmers about planting, fertilizing, spraying fungicide, using insecticide, dealing with tree disease, etc. Did you know certain varieties of trees are only pruned once per year? Others are pruned twice a year. All pruning is hard on the farmer and the tree. It’s literally the cutting away of what looks like good growth to make way for better, healthier growth. Immediately following a pruning, the trees look ugly. The cuts are blunt, raw and extreme. I always wonder if they can recover from such a harsh hacking. It’s my least favorite part of farming.

But, they always do. The cutting away of the old in one season makes room for new growth in the next. And the result is a beautiful Christmas tree, ready for the weight of homemade ornaments and the promise of magical Christmas memories.

Hard seasons make way for new growth for Jesus’ followers, too. “He [the Lord] has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a, NKJV) What feels like an ugly, open wound in this season is really just a pathway for beauty to emerge in the next. John 3:30 says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (NKJV) 

In the pruning, He has a purpose. And the result is a beautiful life, ready to take on the weight of the world and the promise of abundant joy in Christ.

Meet… Jenn Campbell!

Jenn and her husband, Brent, are parents of Ethan (15) and Blaine (12). They’ve been part of Stuart Heights for 12 years, serving at the Chattanooga Campus. Jenn loves singing, writing, baking and staying active. She encourages women through Women’s Ministry and leads a D-group. The Campbell’s Christmas Tree Farm is cultivated all year to serve the families who visit them at Christmas.