Recently, my mother told me a story about my brother and me when we were little kids. He was about 4 and I was about 2, and it was Advent. She had just put together an artificial Christmas tree. Remember those things? Shiny and silver and gaudy? You assemble it branch by branch. It’s actually painstaking work. I hope they don’t still sell them.
Anyway, it was a very hectic time for my mother. She had 3 children, including one that was mentally handicapped and required constant care. She had completed the tree and was in the other room on the phone, still in a rush. When she got off the phone, she came into the living room where the tree was.
This is what she saw. There stood a Christmas tree that had its branches completely removed as far as a four-year-old’s arms could reach. On the floor the branches sat. Interspersed between them, there lay all the bulbs that used to hang on them. And scattered around the bulbs of course were all the little metal caps that used to fit into the top of each bulb. And, of course, scattered around these little caps were the little hooks that used to fit into the little caps. In the middle of it all was my brother. On the couch I sat comfortably.
My brother had disassembled everything as far as he could reach. And I sat by watching.
My mother began to cry.
Now, don’t feel bad, as she was telling me this story we were both getting a good laugh out of it. And then she said, “And so I sent both of you to your room.” And I laughed, “Wait a minute, why did you send me to my room? What did I do?” She said, laughing, “You were an accomplice!”
You see, I was a witness to the work she put in to build the Christmas tree. While she was gone, she needed me to be an advocate. She needed me to speak up. But I kept my mouth shut – I didn’t have the right spirit.
We are called to follow the Lord and become witnesses to His great work of salvation. If we do this, He will send us His Spirit: “And when he comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment.” (Jn 16:8 )
With His Spirit, we won’t sit by idly as the lives around us are disassembled.
With His Spirit, we will speak up.