A holiday tradition in the Baxter home is for all of us to load up together in the truck and head toward the local Christmas tree lot. A tree is picked from the selection, put in the truck-bed, and then placed in the corner of our living room. All of this is done in cheerful merriment of the holidays. (Ok, not all of us are cheerful all of the time, but it sounded good).
Our tree stood bare for a night and a day before we decorated it this year. The evergreen branches have a stark beauty all on its own. But, of course, a Christmas tree is meant to be decorated! So, three of the six of us decorated it together last night. The other three in the family obviously had had enough merriment during the tree-selection process…bah-hum-bug.
As we decorated, I was reminded of a life lesson that I have taught my kids on different occasions. The lights and ornaments are inanimate, of course, but we can learn something from them. For example, these objects don’t “look” around and about themselves, wishing they were made differently. They just display their own unique creativity. Also, they don’t “fret” over their postition, wondering why “that ornament over on the other side of the tree gets to hang in a higher spot”. No, the lights and ornaments are content to contribute to the work of art as a whole; but at the same time, their individual spot on the tree is beautiful because of them. As I placed each unique ornament on the tree in it’s designated branch, I thought of how the Christmas tree is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together.
Just like the ornaments, we are each a beautiful creation. Both time and care were put into the manufacturing of the intricate items placed on the tree. Likewise, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14).
And just like the ornaments, as well as the lights, we all have a place to rest, a place to display our beauty, a place to contribute to the whole design. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:7, 12).
So when you look at your tree this year, think of the body of Christ. You have a unique ability in sharing a universal purpose: to shine your light… and to display God’s glory. And you have a specific place in which to do it. Don’t wrestle, just rest. Hear your Creator and Positioner say, “You are precious in My sight…you are honored and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4). Merry Christmas.
And Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight--why the bush does not burn up." Exodus 3:3
Turn our heads to see your holiness. Pull our hearts towards your glory. Make us curious enough to walk towards you and willing enough to respond to all that you have in mind. Call us, challenge us, change us. Amen.