Monday, December 13, 2010

O Christmas Tree

This is the first of at least three Christmas related posts that I will be posting before Christmas, so be sure to come back and check for more in the coming days.

The Christmas Tree.  This year we had somewhat of a dilemna concerning the Christmas tree.  It began last year when we decided to give our old Christmas tree (a hand-me-down from Ezra's grandmother), that was over 20 years old, to Goodwill.  To say the least, it had seen better days, and we wanted a newer, prettier tree to go with the house renovations that were coming.  We knew we would be remodeling the house this year, and we were attempting to throw away/donate as much as we could in preparation for the mess that we knew awaited us.  So, we were now facing another Christmas season, without a Christmas tree.  We have moved back into the house, but we are not "settled" completely, so decorating for Christmas has not been at the top of the list.  We talked about going shopping for a tree, but to be honest, my husband does not have a whole lot of extra time to be braving the cold and crowds for a Christmas tree, and this was one purchase that I was not going to attempt by myself with four littles by my side (nor would he want me to).  As the days drew nearer to Christmas and people all around us were decorating and putting up trees, we realized that we would have to come up with something.  My husband decided that we could cut down a tree from the farm and save a couple of hundred dollars instead of buying a new, artificial tree.  Now, mind you, I have never had a real tree at Christmas before.  This was definitely a first.

Due to Ezra's busy schedule and fewer hours of daylight, he had to get up before 6am Friday morning to go cut the tree and bring it to the house, if we wanted a tree before December 23. 

Tree was originally about 10 feet tall!

When Ezra first brought the tree inside and stood it up, I honestly thought, "Is that the best you could find?"  It was thin and had many bare spots.  I couldn't imagine anybody even trying to sell a tree like this at a Christmas tree lot.  I also wanted to go crawl back into bed.  Wisely, I kept these thoughts to myself.

After fitting it securely in the tree stand, Ezra had to leave for work, so it was up to me and my little helpers, who were eager to decorate the tree at 6:30am, to turn an out-of-shape tree with many bare spots into our Christmas tree.

Can someone please tell me when my 6 year old
turned into a 13 year old???

I spent all morning repeating myself, "That's breakable....stop playing with the careful on the step stool....put the garland down....." while fighting with lights that would not work, garland that was tangled together and broken ornaments, all the while thinking, "How am I supposed to make this tree look pretty?".....and then, it happened.  The Lord convicted me and my heart changed.  Not one of my children had complained about the imperfections of the tree or questioned its appearance compared to other Christmas trees seen in stores or for sale on tree lots.  I realized that an "imperfect" tree in my mind does not diminish the "perfect" Christmas gift....Jesus Christ.  That very first Christmas was not "perfect" by our standards today.  Mary, an unwed mother, gave birth in a dirty stable, laying her baby boy in the feeding trough for the animals.  There was no perfectly decorated nursery with matching quilts and curtains, warm blankets and new sleepers to welcome the newborn or even a battery-operated swing to lull the baby to sleep.  There was no beautifully decorated tree or colorful lights, but there was love....God's love, and that's all that was needed in the little stable in Bethlehem....God's perfect choice for His Son, our Savior. 

So, our humble little tree, decorated by the hands of eager children, stands in our front window, a daily reminder to me that only my Savior is perfect.  It reminds me of the Christmas tree at the end of Charlie Brown's Christmas, and I kind of like it that way. 


  1. Oh, this makes me miss home! We cut down a cedar from the pasture every year and they are NEVER perfect. That's what makes them so perfect! Your tree is wonderful! Merry Christmas, Matkin family!