There are two types of Christmas tree aficionados, those who extol the virtues of artificial trees and those who prefer the aroma and texture of the real thing. Which are you? Do you don your red plaid shirt, jacket, hat and leather gloves to brave a Christmas tree farm? Or is your garb more to the style of flannel pajamas as you grab that oversized box from the attic or cellar?
Perhaps there comes a time in your life when you change from one type of tree to another. That happened at the tender age of twenty-one for an acquaintance of mine. All through her growing up years her no-nonsense parents had put up an artificial tree. But her parents had recently accepted positions abroad that would make them expatriates for a couple of years, leaving their young adult children to weather the final years of college and graduate school without them.
“Now’s our chance!” my friend and her sibling thought, “Let’s put up a real tree this year!”
“Now’s our chance!” my friend and her sibling thought, “Let’s put up a real tree this year!” Using some of that hard-earned cash, they bought the obligatory tree stand and skirt, then went to cut themselves a fine specimen of Douglas fir. With the joy of the season, they placed the tree in the stand, filled the stand with water. Next they gleefully decorated their first bona fide evergreen with the family ornaments, basking in the tell-tale aroma as they worked. It was with pride that they viewed their finished product and finally went to bed.
Alas! What they viewed upon awakening was not the same visual treat as they had viewed the evening before! The carefully decorated tree had first tottered, then tipped, then crashed during the night…leaving a wake of broken ornaments. What had gone wrong? A careful examination revealed that the problem was with the base…those four screws had not been screwed in deep enough to truly hold the tree long-term. It was a hard-learned lesson.
And what about us? We are bound to experience crashes as we become ever more real in our Christian walk. Perhaps the problem is with our base as well. Perhaps when you read the blogpost “Superhero Clothes” two weeks ago, you bowed your head and asked God to come into your life.
Now is the time to steady your base, to turn the screws deeper into the trunk.
Now is the time to steady your base, to turn the screws deeper into the trunk. Why not open to the gospels, the good news found in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John? Sit down in a comfortable chair and become acquainted with the man called the Christ. Yes, you may feel a squeeze, as preconceived ideas about Jesus meet The Man; or you may wind up with more questions than when you started. Never fear, all this is part of becoming grounded. All this is part of remaining steady. All this is part of the beauty as you begin to radiate Christ to those around you, much like those lights shining on your tree right now.