Every year my mom decorates two beautiful Christmas trees. When it comes to holiday decorations and entertaining, she’s very talented, and her home looks beautiful – like something out of one of the magazines stacked on her coffee table. I always have dreams of my tree being that beautiful. I think it used to be. Okay, maybe it wasn’t, but it was a lot closer than it is now. Then I had kids. 🙂
Our Christmas tree was up less than 12 hours and not fully decorated when my toddler tumbled off the side of the couch onto it, breaking three branches. Somehow he managed to not knock it over, break a single ornament, or harm himself. The star on top? Well I had planned to put a large white snowflake on top that matched the smaller snowflakes decorating the tree. However, our oldest found this little star in the boxes of ornaments and climbed up on the loveseat, attempting to put it on the tree. He knew exactly where it went, so my husband picked him up and let him place it at the top, and it has stayed there. The other decorations are minimal at this point. Several are piled on the table because the boys wouldn’t stop pulling them off, detaching them from the little wire hangers, and I didn’t have time to search them out on the tree. Several have been broken (Plastic hammers do lots of damage. That’s another post though.), and the few left on the tree aren’t where I originally placed them. I never did find the ribbon I wanted to put on the tree this year, and at this point I know it would be pointless to dig it out and attempt to put it on the tree.
There is one great thing about our tree though. It’s pre-lit. All the lights are on the tree and will stay there. Every morning, Lincoln points at the tree and in his Lincolnese says, “Turn tree on!” Why he asks me to do it, I’m not really sure. He knows how and has been going around plugging in Christmas trees at the homes of family and friends. Another somewhat scary skill he has taught himself. Despite the scraggly appearance of our tree, he always gets excited when the lights are shining. He claps, stares in amazement, and says things like, “Booyeah!” and “Pwetty twee!” I thought it was funny that he doesn’t really care what the tree looks like, as long as the lights are shining. To him, the lights are the pretty part. It reminded me of how God sees us. He just wants us to shine His light. We are so often concerned with how the world sees us and what everyone else expects of us – making money, getting our kids into the best schools, buying a pretty house, etc. God’s desire is for us to light up the world. For parents, that means starting in our own living rooms and teaching our children about God’s love and loving others, despite the broken branches, missing ornaments and ribbon, and the silly looking tiny stars, and telling them of God’s love so that they too may shine with pretty lights for eternity. To Him, that is beautiful. You see, we are all pre-lit too. God created us all to shine for Him. You have to choose to turn your own light on though.