Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: Toppling Tree Tradition
By Leslie Schonfeld
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Some traditions are handed down from generation to generation. Steeped in history and sentimental meaning, they bring delight to family members as they take part in them each year. Christmas caroling, decorating cookies, and gift giving all help to spread Christmas cheer. In our house we have started an unintentional tradition. It doesn’t happen every year but more than we care to admit. Our new tradition is the toppled Christmas tree. Obviously we don’t plan for it. We don’t look for top heavy trees or tree stand that can’t bear the weight. They some how find us. Picking out our Christmas tree is a family affair. We pile in the car, bundled up against the cold, and head to the tree farm. We troop through the field looking at each and every tree. We know that somewhere out there is the perfect tree. At last, we find the tree that appears to be just right, for our home. Many times it is quite comical when it is time to set up in our living room. Last year, the tree was much wider than we thought. When the twine was cut, the branches flew out and nearly broke the window. After a little pruning, the addition of the lights and ornaments it was beautiful. Alas, within a week, we came home to find our spruce upon its side. Once again we were victimized by the Laws of gravity. Yet, I have to admit, I have come to enjoy this uninvited tradition. It certainly has become a family joke. A favorite place of ribbing for my husband, but upon reflection the three steps of resetting up the tree reveal the true heart of Christmas.
Our toppled tree represents hope. Most of our ornaments represent some significant moment in our families life together. Some celebrate marriage, others celebrate babies first Christmas, our hobbies, or individual milestones. Some are broken in the fall, but our tree remains green. Like our ornaments, this life is temporal. Solomon said it is but a vapor. Without Christ, our life is meaningless. That green tree reminds me that no matter what, we have the promise of eternal life. No earthly hardship can take this truth away.
When our tree falls, it pulls the stand over with it, spilling water everywhere. We must move quickly to return it to the stand before the cut end hardens and is no longer able to absorb the water. We are like the tree, when life knocks us down we must stay with Jesus, the living water. Otherwise, each of life’s trials will harden us and soon we will shrivel and die unable to see past bitterness. In Christ, we find healing and wholeness. We walk in forgiveness and have a heart that does not carry offenses. With His help we can pass the living water onto others.
After up righting our tree, we plug the lights back in and the tree shimmers; once again filling the room with warmth and cheer. We too, are to shine like a light. We reflect the light of the One who stood us up again. We are plugged into our power source, the Holy Spirit. He empowers us to shine His light into the darkest of places, giving Him glory for all that is done in our life.
I have seen beautiful trees on display. Many with exquisite decorations. They are color coordinated and all the decorations are evenly placed. Although their beauty is breathtaking they no longer interest me. I prefer our toppling tree tradition. Yes, a fallen tree makes a mess but we are able to clean it up. Christmas reminds us that Jesus too, has come to pick up a fallen world, refresh us with living water, and set us back in our proper place lighting the way to Him.
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