Our hopes of going to the tree farm, searching for, cutting down, and naming the perfect Christmas tree this year were squashed by working teenagers, rain, and other normal life occurrences, so Rick and I stopped by a lot, picked up a tree and had it waiting for the kids when they got home from school.
They weren’t thrilled with how this was all going down and truly, neither were we but we all decided to make the best of it. So that night, I threw together a nice dinner, ate off fine China, made dessert and had coffee and hot chocolate because this is what we do on Tree Decorating Day. We turned on Christmas music, Rick put the lights on the tree and then the kids, all six of them began to decorate this smaller than normal tree that we had gotten. Pretty, it was. Big, it was not. That wouldn’t have been a problem if for the last 20 years, I wouldn’t have bought an ornament for each child to represent something going on in their life that year…
-an M&M that symbolized successful potty training
-a horse for the year that oldest daughter decided she really liked horses…that lasted about 3 months
-countless footballs,basketballs, soccer balls,
-princess crowns, cars, trucks, and airplanes
-drums, guitars, trumpets
-sushi and coffee
-and pizza, representing first jobs
Overall, 90 ornaments just for each year of our childrens lives, not counting the ones that I’ve just accumulated over the years, the ones we’ve handmade, or the ones that were on my momma’s tree when I was a little girl that I still look forward to seeing each year.
About a week after it was decorated, the lights all twinkly, the mismatched medley of ornaments placed so lovingly but quickly, the burlap ribbon strategically placed; that tree had the nerve to start drooping.
I started bad mouthing it, criticizing its droopy branches, doubting its ability to stay alive for three more weeks, complaining about its failure to thrive. How dare that tree, that had no roots and no soil come in my living room and die when I so faithfully gave it plenty of water every single morning!
(Rick reminded me that my expectations of this tree were really unrealistic….I can often be an idealist…sometimes overlooking the unrealistic expectations and external circumstances..I expect ideal results…shouldn’t I be able to just water it faithfully, hang all the beautiful ornaments, hurriedly wrap 700+ lights around it and expect it to just stand beautifully?)
Apparently, NOT!! Maybe I’m not the only one, because at least five FB friends have had trees fall over, branches bow low to the floor, or some other small catastrophe happen this year too.
Yesterday, I spent a while undecorating that tree, taking off each ornament, unwrapping all the strands of light. Rick (Bless him, Lord)took that tree outside as I was busy setting up an artificial one (gasp)whose branches wouldn’t bend beneath the weight of those heavy ornaments and numerous strands of lights.
Do you know that I walked past that tree outside, standing perfectly straight in its stand and not a branch drooped. It’s branches were again reaching up, it wasn’t droopy and dead looking anymore. It had been, well, revived…..and I realized WE had caused the tree to be weighed down, WE had caused it to droop and bend…. WE had put more on it than it could wear and still be its beautiful self.
That tree got me thinking. Sometimes I pick up and put on things that just weigh me down, that keep me from being who I was created to be…Do you? Expectations that others have of me or that I have of myself. The good things that I may do that aren’t the God things. Things I’ve given to the Lord in prayer and then decided I’ll just carry on my own. Letting sinful or hurtful actions go unforgiven in others and unrepented of in myself. Not taking time to rest and listen for His voice.
I’m taking them off today, I’m not going to wear them anymore. Thanks droopy tree for refocus and redirection!!