Winter pruning serves a variety of purposes, from establishing new plants to rejuvenating tired old shrubs; from training a fruit tree to grow against a wall, to encouraging a bigger harvest; from removing disease to promoting health.
Recently, a friend, somewhat beating themselves up for not always being loving and kind regardless of circumstances, asked me, “But aren’t Christians supposed to be always bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit?” [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, Galatians 5;22, 23]. I responded no: we are called to be fruitful, but not to bear fruit continuously; even the tree of life bears its fruit on a monthly, i.e. not continuous, cycle [Revelation 22:2]. Lasting fruitfulness requires times of pruning, resting, and new growth between each harvest.
What is the divine gardener pruning in you, and in your community, this Advent?