I read somewhere recently that the evergreen tree was an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter. I don’t know if this is a true statement or not, but I would definately say that it is true for my life in this season.
My husband and I have been walking a difficult winter season of unemployment. It’s going on three years now. Although there have been jobs in between, and the occasional call back from the prior boss, my husband remains unemployed. Needless to say, Christmas is going to be a little different for us this year.
One of the things we were missing is the annual cutting down of our Christmas Tree. Although we have only been doing this as a family for about four years, It broke my heart to have to tell my children that we would not be cutting down a tree this year, and that there was the possibility of not having a tree at all.
But a few weeks ago, my family received an unexpected gift that is making a huge impact on my heart. In the mail, I received a check from a woman who I have never met in real life, but whose heart is intertwined with mine in so many ways. The check was to be used to purchase a tree for my family. I could barely speak. I was amazed at the very tangible display of God’s love towards me. I cried, I laughed, I shouted for joy. The best part of all was telling my children how God had provided our tree this year.
Life, in the midst of winter.
Last night, we finally purchased our tree. We did not trek up the mountain as in prior years. We opted instead to visit our local Home Depot.
My kids enjoyed running from tree to tree, pointing out the ones they liked. The varying opinions were wearing my patience and I was ready to go home. Not having quite agreed on a tree yet, we opted to unravel a tree that was not yet on display and lo and behold, we found it! (I failed to get a photo of the tree before the lights were on. Bad photography, I know!)
I have been pondering this tree, this gift from the Lord to our family. The tree itself is about 3-4 feet smaller (and thinner) than we normally get. My first impression was of how much smaller it was, but really, it couldn’t be more perfect. This season I have been focusing on the simplicity of Jesus, what it truly means to fix my eyes on Him, and this simple and humble tree had a few lessons for my heart wrapped up in its leaves of evergreen.
As we hung our ornaments on the tree, I was reminded that only in Christ is my hope and joy secure.
We could not fit the usual large ornaments on the tree, nor did we feel the large bows I used last year would do this little, humble tree justice. So we unpacked the smallest of ornaments, from snowflakes to stars to candy canes. My favorites are the ones that display the handiwork of my children.
The best part about this tree is that we have too many lights, or so it appears. I walked in the house tonight and the entire room was illuminated with light.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.He is light, and in Him there is no darkness.
(1 John 1:5)
This little tree with it’s lights so bright is helping to remind me that the light of Christ shines brighter than the darkness. He came to bring light to hopeless situations. He came so that the Father’s glory might be displayed on earth.
This light of Christ weaved it’s way into our house this Christmas. Through it, I am reminded that there is indeed life in the midst of winter, because His light shines brighter.
Thank you Jesus that you came. Thank you for the gift of friendship. Thank you for the gift of a tree. Thank you that there is life in the midst of winter.
May Your light shine, for all the world to see!
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)