We drag out the buried box. The one wrapped in duct tape from years past. I remember joy bursting as my husband and I scraped enough money to buy this tree as newlyweds.
Now, it seems old. Skimpy. Worn thin and I scold myself quietly for not yet buying another or picking fresh. But my son, the four year-old bouncing out of sheer anticipation, sees the promise of beauty and I force myself to emulate his excitement.
I’ve gotten good at assembly and my boy is eager to learn the process. As I go through the motions, I hear him counting. Soon he exclaims:
“There are 25 branches, Mom!”
It is then I realize Jesus is speaking to me. Reminding me this is His season. Not mine. And I receive the gift He hands me right then as I seek forgiveness while explaining Advent’s 25 days with my boy.
As we conform each branch to reveal its true beauty, my heart reminds me:
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in Me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NRSV
We untangle twinkle lights next and I tell my son about the star in the eastern sky. As his long lashes reflect the sparkle, my thoughts trail to:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
A lump in my throat grabs hold as I wonder if I have been illuminating Him lately…and I vow right then to ensure I am shining bright all season long.
My son opens the ornament box and gasps in pure delight as he sees his forgotten handiwork. We hang our stories one by one. Some gifts given by loved ones. Some sentiments we’ve made through messes of joy.
With our own hands, we adorn this symbol — our gift of creation. While stepping back to truly see, I’m reminded winter is only a season. That even through this barren time, some manage to reveal life. And we witness firsthand how the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord. (Psalm 98:7-9)
We garland the tree with our homemade paper chain. This advent wreath we will take apart each day and discover more of God’s names and attributes (Free Printable Found HERE).
I then reach tall and explain why most Christmas trees have an angel or star on top. This year we’ll show the star with the lights and the angel will get center stage. Yet some years I might need the star above, pointing the way.
And I reveal to my 4 year-old our tradition. How we will keep creating stories; every day now until Christmas, we’ll continue adorning each of its 25 branches.
Because God’s gifts never stop and the most important gift of Jesus deserves to be celebrated each day.
It’s then we bend low to see big. To see our adorned beauty. Worship the One who created artwork we could contribute to.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care.
Today, if only you would hear His voice…
Friends, no matter your Christmas tree traditions, may we resound praise. May we be reminded this is His season, not ours, and do what we can to illuminate Him. May we slow down enough to hear His voice and extend our branches to bless another. And most of all, praise Him for a life promised…longer than an evergreen’s.