My wife Lizzie and I went to look for our first Christmas tree last night. We recently moved into our new place and after the chaos began to dwindle down into a neater puzzle, we decided it was time to add some Christmas spirit. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. I love the everything about it. I own a catalog of goofy Christmas sweaters, love every cheesy Christmas movie, have been known to eat my weight in homemade Christmas desserts and candies, and I’m absolutely enamored by Christmas trees and decorations.
My grandparents never had much, but every year my grandpa would miraculously find the most beautiful real Christmas tree. He had red Christmas bells that were his favorite and he would string up outside on the house, but my favorite was the tree. I was always in awe at how immaculate it looked with each ornament glistening from the light streaming down from the angel so delicately sitting at the top. Peace and joy always overwhelmed me every time I looked at it. It felt like living Grace.
So last night when Lizzie and I went looking for a tree, I had in my head the perfect image of what I wanted to get. It would put Clark Griswold’s tree to shame when it was all said and done. We drove to a lot filled with all kinds of trees with beautiful titles; blue spruce, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, noble fir. They were surrounded by lights and decorations and Christmas music blasting throughout and it was magical. I kept dancing between the trees imaging how majestic it would look in our apartment, and then, my eyes caught the price tag and my heart dropped. The trees went from noble giants to towering green posts that would explode at any minute. We thanked the attendant and continued on our search for the perfect Christmas tree.
A few miles down the road we stopped at a Lowe’s to look at fake trees we could keep for a long time, and after looking through them we just couldn’t seem to settle on anything. We walked around for a bit and saw that outside they still had some real trees they were selling and decided to take a look. We approached the trees and hope was sparked once again and my heart began to flutter. There were plenty of tall fir trees that were full, lush, and smelled of Christmas cheer.
We rounded the corner and we saw it, sitting in the clearance section, a scraggly goofy looking tree that completely stole our hearts. I can’t begin to tell you why on earth it captivated the way it did, the $15 price tag might have helped, but there was something about it that sparked a little bit of joy inside of me. Lizzie and I looked at each other and knew that this was the one.
As we were carrying it through the store to the checkout someone laughed at our tree when they saw and referred to it as the “Charlie Brown Christmas tree”. He looked utterly surprised and a little disgusted that we were so in love with this thing. We checked out, fit it into my car, and took it home where we hung ornaments on it, wrapped lights around it, and put it on display for all to see.
It dawned on me then that this is exactly how God looks at each one of us. There are times in my life when I feel beat up and worthless and like I having nothing to give. I feel like a tree that is in the clearance been just waiting to be scrapped and thrown away. But Jesus comes along and picks me up, wraps me up in new clothes, in majesty and tells me that I am loved, I will not be discarded, and shows me off for all to see, and heaven celebrates. He does this with each one of us. God came to earth as a vulnerable baby in one of the lowliest places to show us that even the littlest of things can be majestic. He came to show us that all can be changed and redeemed and welcomed in His Kingdom.
He has chosen us and all of our imperfections, the things that others see and say are worthless or not good enough and instead says that we are loved, accepted, and puts us on display for all to see. That is the beauty of Christmas and and that is Good news.
This Christmas season may we be reminded that we are loved by the Creator of all, chosen and accepted, and give that gift to others. Amen
1 Corinthians 2: 26 “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”d