When the great poet and author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was well along in years, his head as white as snow, and his cheeks as red as a rose, an ardent admirer asked him how it was that he was able to keep so vigorous and write so beautifully. Pointing to a blooming apple tree nearby, he replied: "That apple tree is very old, but I never saw prettier blossoms upon it than those it now bears. The tree grows a little new wood every year, and I suppose it is out of that new wood that those blossoms come. Like the apple tree, I try to grow a little new wood every year."

As Christians, we want to nurture our life in Christ so that it continues to grow consistently and refuse to let it stagnate. We want to continue our growth as God's children by studying His Word. We want our lives to bear fruit for the Master. We want a life that is strong and will endure. The old adage for a Christian in whom God is at work is correct: "Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right."

The psalmist reminds us of this incredible blessing:

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the LORD wants; day and night they think about his law. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3 CEV)

Let's welcome the dawn of our New Year!
Today, let's make a personal commitment to keep growing new wood and blossoming into the beautiful children of God that we have been designed to be.