Tonight, the Rockefeller Christmas tree will brighten up the New York sky. Towering over 77 feet tall, its caretakers remember when it was once a small sapling planted in 1957 in Orange County, New York.

“I always said, ‘You’re going to be up in Rockefeller Center someday and you’re going to be a beautiful tree when you get older,'” said Carol Schultz to the Today Show in an interview in early November.

Over 60 years later, this now mature iconic Christmas plant, covered in over 50,000 lights, will bring joy to countless visitors over the coming weeks.

When the season passes, the tree’s destiny continues as it will be utilized by Habitat for Humanity to provide shelter for those who currently seek refuge.

On the surface, this Norway spruce provides light in the darkest of our calendar days. Its majesty offers hope, reminding us of the common traditions of light that are found in many of our world religions at this time of year. Over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands will seek a glimpse of this tree and its 900-pound Swarovski star that rests at its apex.

So what does this have to do with us, especially during this Advent season of preparation.

You are invited to consider what great plans God has for you. Like Schultz saw great potential in her once small spruce, just imagine what God sees in you.

I believe God truly imagines great things for us, we unfortunately struggle in our cooperation.

We often fail to see how we can be great. We fail to recognize how we were great in the past and how we are great now. We may not always see the fruit of the seeds that we plant, but that does not mean that the fruit does not exist.

As this season invites us into a time of deeper prayer and reflection, how might God be calling you? What dreams rest in your heart that when fulfilled will brighten the sky?

When you finally recognize your greatness,  when you wholeheartedly  pursue what rests on your heart, not only will you achieve greater peace and joy, but you will become a beacon of light as that Manhattan tree will serve as tonight.

Consider this:

What if the great saints never followed their heart?

What if our leaders never owned their voice and skills to change the world?

What if our inspirational figures never wrote or spoke or acted?

What if those who loved you, taught you, cared about you and for you, made a different decision?

God prepared us with unique gifts and talents.  Your experiences shape you, your wounds strengthen you, and your love only deepens- all forming you to be a light in the darkness.

In a few hours when the countdown leads to zero and the magnificence of this special tree brightens a New York December night, be reminded of the heavenly call for you to shine as bright, reflecting the love of our God for a world that needs this gentle yet urgent reminder.

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