I have a mental game plan for finding our Christmas tree. Steve says I remind him of this every year. "We will not find a 'perfect' tree, we will find the tree 'perfect' for us!" (I know, I'm an inspirational quote factory!) This usually means that we will find a half dead, lopsided, heavy bottomed tree, containing a birds nest in it, that I will fall in love with! There is usually much compromising and much hunting, but eventually 3 hours later we find our tree...
We leave, all of us with what we believe is the 'perfect' tree for us. We congratulate each other because obviously this tree is much better than last year's.
I remember when Steve and I were broke college students, he did not have a Christmas tree. One year I decided it was ludicrous, how could you celebrate the birth of our lord with out a well decorated tree? It was like a birthday party with out balloons. So while he was at school one night I bundled up and on my own made my way to a tree lot so that I could surprise him with a tree. When I got to the lot I quickly learned that all I could afford was a tiny step up from Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. It was barely waist high and one string of lights could easily double loop it. Still, I pulled out every last dollar in my small bank account and bought him the tree.
I am humbled by where God has placed me now. I am grateful not only for the tangible blessings, but for the change in my heart and mind. This year as we drove out of the farm with our tree, my kids safely in the back, I realize what a fool I use to be. I think about the families who can't afford a tree, who have no place to put a tree, who might have to pull out all their money just to buy that Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I realize, how whether your tree be as beautiful as the white house's, be as small as Charlie Brown's, as lopsided as ours, or even be it you have no tree, God covers us all. Jesus was born for each of us. He does not come only to those who have exquisitely decorated to celebrate his birth, he comes to those of us who celebrate in our hearts the wonderful gift his birth was, no tree, no decorations required.
"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world."
-John 1:9 (NIV) emphasis added