Legacy of Hope
by Casey Schutrop
Christmas, the season of hope and good will. It is when a dark world pauses to consider the ‘why’ of our past year and the ‘what’ of our future. It is when we seek a glimmer of hope to refresh us. This is the true gift most seek. ‘Peace on earth and good will toward men’…the true Father of Christmas, our Heavenly Father wills this for us, just as a good father is compelled by compassion to gift a blessing of inheritance to his children.
And as an inheritance is given, it is a legacy we are to leave…
As seen in the Word of God, genealogies—the blessing of the father and the Covenant of Peace—show clear that the forming of heritage is gifted by the Father to extend from generation to generation. Just as the Israelites, young and old, gathered to celebrate yearly the Passover meal, traditions can serve as a bridge to teach spiritual heritage from one generation to the next, passing our values, identity and purpose. For it is here we learn values and thus find our value. It is here we learn ‘who we are and to whom we belong’.
Yet now, many families and cultures, rather than leaving a legacy, are leaving this very call. With these bridges fallen, this heritage is not passed. And in the same way, a culture without identity fails. “For without vision the people perish…” KJV Proverbs 29:18. The secret strength of God’s chosen people was their understanding of who they were called to be, along with a unified mission to pass-on a spiritual legacy, and so it is to be ours. For what is the very essence of a generational blessing? To gift…hope.
Framework to families in shifting times…
However, these shaking and shifting times in our culture reflect losses for many—causing the very foundation of our families to be shaken, then in turn, the shifting of personal identities. Therefore, family identities are challenged. Families are made, not from the sharing of mere DNA, but from times together, love given and memories made. Family is how and where we learn to love. Traditions help these memories to take form, providing a strong framework to remind us that we are family. This is the gift we share with one another. For as an inheritance is given, it is a legacy we are to leave.
This is the clarion call: to impart a legacy of HOPE. Yet, how can we pass this hope to the next generation—the very hope of the Church? With traditions that teach, like the grandmother gave within the story, Grandma’s Christmas Legacy, the Testimony of the Tree.
Late one Christmas Eve, a loving grandmother, knowing it may be her last, sat wrapped by the warmth of the fire and within the faint glow of the Christmas tree. It was then she bowed her head and asked God for a gift: that they may know all they need to know of all they are to be. It was then, she looked up and there it was—glistening and adorned in all its glory. And it was then she knew what she was to do. So as the months passed, before she weakened, she penned the pages of a book and prepared the contents of a mysterious old trunk. The story opens almost a full year later under the snowy tufts of winter as the family gathers for the annual decorating of the tree. Here the family makes an amazing discovery.
As an allegory, the Testimony of the Tree message brings rich meaning to our lives as we celebrate Christmas. Here the Lord decorates our lives, adorning us with the ornaments of the beauty of the Lord—the fruit of the Spirit—and crowning us with his purpose that we may leave the ‘why’ of our past to know the ‘what’ of our future; and finally, to stand as a glimmer of hope in a dark world. Perhaps it takes a grandmother’s heart to reveal how the Christmas tree stands to tell the greatest story of all.
“Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.” NIV Isaiah 55:13
For the wonder of Christmas is this…As the babe in the manger came—salvation has come. As the angels announced—hope is ours. As the wise-men bowed—we are invited to do the same. For as an inheritance is given, it is a legacy we are to leave—just as that star which shone over Bethlehem for all to see, that we may stand adorned in strength and beauty, as symbols of hope in a dark world, pointing others to God. For this is our testimony. This is the testimony of the tree—that all would see and know Jesus, the Christ child, the light and HOPE of the world. “For a life devoted to things is a dead life— a stump; but a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” Start a tradition…Leave a legacy.
© 2012 W.O.W. Ministries Intl
Casey Schutrop is an award-winning author, speaker, and a passionate Bible teacher sharing in creative and compelling ways, insightful teaching and original evangelistic presentations. She is the founder of W.O.W. Ministries International, a non-profit 501c3 organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she lives with her husband Marty and their three children.