A year of 'Why?' ahead
By Trent Loos
I have had some subtle yet recurring reminders about how I should head into the year 2014. So many baseless attacks have occurred in the past year on not only the production of food but also the true foundation of being an American. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being challenged. What better time of the year than Christmas for us to really do a self-analysis and figure out the best path forward?
My initial response is to spend more time on the “Why?” in 2104. Why do I believe in the future of farming with a faith born not of words but of deeds? Because we in agriculture are literally doing God’s work by converting his natural resources into the essentials of life.
We cannot continue to get bogged down the on telling the “How” and explain every little detail of what we do and think that consumers are going to understand or care. We must focus on the “Why?”
Let me give you an example that I think rings so true. What is the discussion in your house as you put up the Christmas tree? This is what ours sounds like:
Should we put up the artificial tree in the basement or should we get a real tree this year? Why do we use a tree at all? What are all the decorations? Why string lights? Why are green and red so prominent every year at Christmas?
And most importantly, why do we defy odds and place the heaviest decoration in the most vulnerable spot?
Honestly, in our family we have done all of these things for each one of my 47 years and it was not until this year that I finally asked, “Why?”
I found one account of the why for every single one my questions and interestingly enough it dates back to Germany, the very country from which the first Loos departed on his voyage to the U.S.
Martin Luther is credited with being inspired by the starry heavens one night and expressing his feelings to his family by bringing a fir tree into his home and attaching lighted candles to its branches. Fir meant fire and fire is an ancient symbol for spirit. The tree also pointed toward the heavens.
Evergreens were thought to represent the ever-burning fire of life. The color green signified the life force throughout the year. Eventually, decorative balls were used to represent the planets, while the star that radiates from the top reminds us of Bethlehem. The entire tree and its decorations teach us that the universe is witness to the Incarnation.
Red at Christmas reminds us of the fire of the Spirit. Green affirms nature and ongoing life. And in the Incarnation, Spirit unites with nature.
In fact, the Christmas tree symbolizes to us a further appreciation of Jesus’ birth. It is a means of retelling the story of the miracle in a colorful and beautiful way so that we can further understand and appreciate Jesus entering our world.
As in all things today, there seems to be some Christians who believe it is wrong to have a tree because we somehow are seen as worshipping the tree rather than God. As I read the history, it became glaringly apparent that our house should have a real tree this year.
After all, that is exactly what we believe in as Christians—that all things live and all things die and it should be our goal that our time spent on earth somehow benefits those who follow us in life.
Honestly, the most forgotten connection, the one that causes us in the farm community the greatest challenge, is the realization that eternal life only comes through your work here on earth.
Despite the challenges of sharing our important message, my family and I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and recognize those who have gone before us and provided for our right to choose how we spend our time here on earth. Merry Christmas to your family from ours!
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.