Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christmas Tree

Please don't get me wrong here. I really like the look of a Christmas tree. I like the lights, the tinsel garland, and the decorations. I discovered these things called "picks" this year, and I like them a lot, too! They are like ornaments on steroids with a skewer instead of a hook. You stab the skewer into the tree and it's basically stuck in place. Because it's so big, it takes up a lot of space, so you don't need as many picks as you do ornaments. I have some highly unattractive picks, which are stuck on the back side of the tree. My pretty ones made it to the front, of course.

As I write tonight, I'm sitting in my big green chair in front of the tree, admiring the lights, garland, and ornaments. And the picks. I'm wondering, though, why we call it a Christmas tree. I could make up a lovely little analogy about the tree and relate it to the wood in the cross, but even for me that's a stretch. 

I've decided to face it. This tree has nothing at all to do with Christmas, nor with Jesus. It just happens that I put it up in December, which is the same month we celebrate Jesus's birthday.  Perhaps we could call it a December tree, or an ornament tree. There are lots of ornaments, so that might work. I have all the ornaments Ryan made, including the gold paper star with the glued-on macaroni, proudly displayed right in front. They are more precious to me than a bag of jewels, and I love displaying them for a month on this December ornament tree. In fact, they might have more to do with Christmas than any other part of the tree.

When Ryan was born, someone called me to say, "Now you really know what love is."  Indeed, I did. Loving my family and my husband in no way prepared me for the ferocity of my love for this tiny squirming bundle of joy.  As my love for him grew, so did my understanding of the depth of God's love for His children. God loves me like I love Ryan? It seems impossible, yet, if the Bible is to be believed, it is true. Now THAT is the essence of this holiday season. God loved us and sent His Son. 

This "December ornament tree" really doesn't have much to do with Christmas. Those paper ornaments, however, made by the hands of an innocent child, point me to the love of my Heavenly Father. Now that might be the most Christ-like part of this whole "Christmas tree turned December ornament tree" ritual!  A little child shall lead them. That's what the prophet said, and tonight, in the glow of the tree lights, it's exactly what he's done.