One of the things my family will be doing in the next few days is selecting the perfect Christmas tree. If you have ever experienced the process of purchasing a live tree, you know that there are several decisions that go into choosing the ideal evergreen. First, cost needs to be determined. Then you need to consider the height (will it hit the ceiling?) and the ‘fatness’ (will it fit in the room?). You need to find one without bare spots (although those can go to the back, against the wall), but with a straight trunk.(this is essential). Finally, the needles need to be green and flexible (no one should buy a brown crunchy tree).
After spending some time at the tree lot, the perfect tree is ultimately selected and purchased. After it is taken home and placed in the stand we let it warm up in the house and let the branches relax and fall into place. It is at that moment that you come to the moment of truth – there is no perfect tree. We’ve bought the right size and paid the right price; we’ve evaluated the bare spots and turned the tree to minimize their impact; still, there are holes and straggling branches. Still, not all hope is lost.
There is something almost magical about Christmas trees. Like the wispy, wimpy tree from the Charlie Brown special shows us, the decorations somehow transform the natural flaws into a beautiful display. After the lights are strung, the ornaments are hung, the garlands are draped and the tinsel is placed, what emerges is, inevitably, the most beautiful tree you’ve ever seen. It seems as if the lights fill those voids, the ornaments (and the memories they elicit) enhance the structure, and the garlands and tinsel provide shape. There has yet to be a year where I haven’t stepped back after the tree is fully trimmed and said, “It’s not a bad tree after all.”
Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Colossians 1:22 (NLT)
You and I are like Christmas trees – naturally imperfect with bare patches and crooked trunks. We sit in the tree lot waiting for someone to come and save us and make us useful before we succumb to death. Christ comes and fills us with light and adorns us with memorable and beautiful things. He shapes us and fashions us to reflect His design and majesty. And we, under His artful hand, become radiant. Our flaws and imperfections are covered by His vestiges and we reflect His glory. We are no longer a “Charlie Brown Tree”; we become one shown on magazine covers. We are like trees whose greatness comes from what Christ has graciously bestowed upon our boughs.
I hope you find the perfect tree this year. If you’re anything like my family, whatever one we buy always seems to end up being ideal.