For some reason, I got excited about the Christmas season quite early this year. I pulled out my décor from last year, hit the dollar spot jackpot at Target, and started diffusing my ‘Christmas spirit’ essential oil a week or two before Thanksgiving. A friend and I shopped around for the perfect ornaments and twinkle lights one weekend, and then I went home, threw on the Christmas tunes and decorated my little apartment with all things Christmas. It was wonderful. Only there was one thing missing…I didn’t have a tree. Growing up, my family has always had a real tree, and still continues to each year. There’s just nothing that quite beats a real tree, in my opinion — the smell, the beauty, the uniqueness. I love it.
I happened to be getting groceries one day and noticed some mini Christmas trees for sale outside. When Mary and I went shopping later that week, I informed her we had to stop so I could buy a Christmas tree. It would be the perfect size for my apartment and just the final touch my décor needed! I picked out the perfect one, loaded it into the trunk of my car, carried it up two flights of stairs and into my apartment. I was pretty pumped about it.
It fit just right where I’d imagined it! I added some lights and the cutest little ornaments I’d bought. It was SO cute! It did lose a few little needles on the trip home and while decorating it, so I quick vacuumed them up, added a little water to the base and figured that’d do the trick. I went about my life, only to notice each time I came home there were a few more needles on the floor. I assumed it needed a little more water, so I grabbed a cup and filled the base up. I bumped a few braches in the process and a shower of needles fell to the floor like sprinkles. Interesting, I thought.. Then I remembered from helping out at my aunt and uncle’s Christmas tree farm as a kid, that the trees were usually shaken after being cut to get rid of all the loose needles hidden within. So, I took my little guy out on the balcony and gave it a small shake… I’ve never seen so many needles fall off a tree in my life! It was crazy! At this point I’m pretty sure there were more on the ground than actually left on the branches. I was so over it. I took all the ornaments and lights off of it and decided it could live on the balcony instead. Although slightly disappointed, I was tired of stepping on and vacuuming up needles on the daily.
Throughout the whole process, I saw myself and my faith resembled in that cute little tree I loved so much. You might be wondering how something as silly as a tree could do so, but let me explain…
In the same way I so carefully selected what I thought to be the ‘perfect’ tree, God so carefully selects each and every one of us, perfect in every way in his eyes. Maybe not perfect as seen by the world or often times even through our own eyes, but perfectly crazy, unique, and lovely in His. Sought after like the most wonderfully created tree on the farm. He selects us, carries us up the stairs while we appear to have it all together, and uses us to make the most perfect addition to his home. He has the best spot in the house picked out and saved just for us. He loves us in our beautiful uniqueness, and especially so when we start to fall apart and dry out.
Only unlike me, when we start to fall apart over and over again, Jesus doesn’t lose his patience, take away our light, or throw us out in the cold. Instead, He chooses to vacuum up our messes time and time again. He continues to love us through our brokenness and as we repeatedly fall apart. He waters us with his truth and allows us to soak up all of his goodness—fully redeemed and restored. I just think that’s such a beautiful thing to be reminded of. Especially during this holiday season when the craziness can be tad overwhelming. Remember you don’t have to be perfect, or have it all together. Jesus welcomes us to come to him in our dryness, in our brokenness, and when it feels like we’ve been stuck outside. He will continuously carry you and make you new; nourish your soul and fill you back up. He forgets about the prickly mess and instead loves you endlessly. Let that soak in for a minute.
As I sit in my living room and see my poor little barren tree sitting out on the balcony, I’m reminded of Jesus’ love and grace, and I’m so thankful for that hidden lesson. Try not to get lost in the stress of preparing, shopping, decorating, or vacuuming up needles. Instead, I encourage you to enjoy this season of advent as we anxiously await the Savior’s arrival, filled with joy and gladness remembering you are CHOSEN, LOVED, ADORED, REDEEMED and RESTORED by the King of Kings!
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
Have a hope filled week