Monday, November 19, 2012

The Tree

Today we will put up our Christmas tree.  Not so much because it is a matter of tradition to do it on this day, but because it is most convenient to do it today.  I have to work Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and of course, I will be cooking much of tomorrow and Wednesday, so today is the day.

I can remember as a young girl begging my father to go to the Christmas tree lots to pick out our tree.  It didn't matter to me if it was cold or raining, but it did to him. He would find every excuse not to go.  Of course, as a young girl I didn't understand being tired after working all day.

I actually only remember my father moving quickly once in my life -- that was the afternoon Glen wanted to ask for my hand in  marriage.  Suddenly my father had errands to run that just couldn't wait and he was out of the house in a flash.  But around Christmas?  He was as slow as the day itself.

Once we finally had made it to the lot and selected a tree, it wasn't as if it was going to be decorated anytime soon.  My father was the only one allowed to put the lights on the tree and he was a perfectionist.  It seemed like it took him forever to put those lights on the tree.  Knowing my dad, it probably did take him forever!  I don't ever recall seeing a wire on the trees when I was young, but then I was probably spending most of my time looking at the bottom of the tree where all the presents were piled. 

I enjoy putting up our tree, but I enjoy having it up even more.  By the end of the day approximately 800 ornaments will be on our eight-foot tree, I will have consumed at least four or five cups of coffee and our living room will look like Christmas.  That Christmas tree smell will have to come from a spray or candle, our tree is not real.

For years we had real trees -- I especially loved the Frasier Fir trees -- until I found out they were the reason I was sick each December.  Now that I know I am allergic to most Christmas trees and am resigned to an artificial tree, December has become much easier.   The garland around my mantle isn't real either.  While it is easy to tell the garland isn't real, my tree can fool you at first.  It's a pretty good fake tree even without all the lights and ornaments, but when covered with tons of shiny, colorful things to hide the fake limbs and branches, it starts to look fairly real. It's amazing how easily we can adapt to something artificial, to a "fake", when it seems to benefit us, isn't us?

There is a Bible verse that I loved for a long time:
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment," (John 7:24.)  

Sometimes things may seem perfect to us from the outside, the appearances are all what we think they should be, but the inward is not right.  The shiny ornaments on the outside of the tree look good, but the branches are fake and the needles are made of fabric and plastic.  As Christians we need to utilize the discernment of the Holy Spirit within us to make "righteous judgments" about things in our lives.  We can't just take things at face value, we must "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,"  (1 John 4:1.)

Let us make sure in our day to day lives that we are seeking the wisdom of the Lord in our judgments and that we are being, as our Lord said, "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, 
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; 
and it shall be given him." 
 James 1:5

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