“That certainly shook the tree,” she pronounced brightly.
“What do you mean?” said I.
“The apple hit his head,” she said.
“Who? What?” I laughed.
“Newton,” she smiled.
We had just finished presenting the results of a minor study to a Board of Directors. I found their response impenetrable, much more a non-response.
But within nine months nearly everything we proposed had been implemented. The firm thrived from the changes.
I was an outsider. She was very much inside. She needed me to say aloud what she already knew. She needed me to shake the tree.
In the Quran’s story of Jesus’ nativity, Mary shakes a tree (19:22-26):
The pain is real. The isolation is real. The anxious suffering has good cause.
The cool stream is also real, but unseen. The ripe dates are as real, but neglected.
Our needs can be fulfilled. Opportunities are within reach. To claim them we must notice and be willing to shake the tree.
The Quran continues: “So eat and drink and be contented.” (19:27)
Listen. Look. Rejoice.
Most do not argue that as the Roman Republic collapsed into the Empire a Jewish baby was born and came to be called Jesus.
There is considerable disagreement regarding nearly every other aspect of the boy’s life and death.
Over the centuries these disagreements have been used to justify horrible violence. It will happen again today.
Sunday hundreds of millions will celebrate the Jewish boy’s birth. Another 300 million will wait until January 7. Two billion Muslims do not celebrate Christmas, but honor Jesus and most anticipate he will return in the last days to reconcile the earth to God’s intention.
No matter what else, perhaps we can agree this man knew how to shake a tree.
And most of us are blind to the ripe fruit his shaking has scattered all about us.
May these next days help us to see and even to taste.