“Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”  – Luke 21:29-30 (Click for the whole gospel reading on Sunday)

Charles Dickens, writer of the famed Christmas Carol and so many other literary works, was believed to have remarked: “Train up a fig tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade of it.”

 As advent dawns in the midst of winter nights and we turn our eyes to the well worn path to the manger, we might ask ourselves…what kind of fig are we training up?

Dickens was onto something much more profound than an exclusive pitch for why we should all care about sustainable agriculture practices, of which this saying is probably cited quite often.

 

Instead, it’s the cry of wisdom from one generation to another – watch how you live.  Do we live in a way that treats human beings like grass that withers, who are here one day and gone the next, disposable to the needs of today and forgotten by the time tomorrow has come?  Isaiah cries out from the wilderness against this kind of living on Sunday.

Do we live, grounded in the good news of God’s Word that stands forever, ever watchful of the signs of hope that are taking root even in these days – or are we merrily marching along on our shopping spree of holiday cheer, ticking off the lists of this world’s wants, eyes glued to sales paper and ears full of clinging carols and cash registers?

Seriously – what kind of fig tree are you training up?  What kind of life are you living?  Do we spend this life watching for what comes tomorrow, preparing, working, believing that even now, there’s good news for all?

Or do live according to the sales pitch that comes every year, complete with expiration date and limited quantities – not unlike our overburdened credit cards and according to stats Canada, depleting savings accounts.

Let’s be honest: The world wants.  And it wants whatever it wants…NOW.  And by in large, our free market is pretty oblivious to the fact that many people who make the essential things and toys we absolutely want and need for Christmas, are not elves.  They’re slaves.

Ok, maybe not the folks who work for the companies that we hold with such esteem their “brands” have a “power” that like moths to light, draw us into neon signed shopping glory every year.

But have you ever asked yourself where the materials come from for your iphone?  Or what about that glitzy plasma TV you just gotta have on sale at COSTCO?

Visit http://slaveryfootprint.org/ and dare to ask yourself this Christmas:  How many slaves work for you?  You might be surprized as I was.  It’s unexpected news.  Kinda like being caught in a trap…just like Jesus proclaimed in Luke’s gospel.

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