Good morning y'all!!! In my neck of the woods the sun is shining brightly and beautifully, oh my it sure is. I was at one of the local stores shopping one day last week and the lady checking me out said something about it being beautiful outside. I laughed and said, "Yeah, but it's a little "sneaky", because it is really cold." She laughed and said, "I love that term, "sneaky", it's perfect to describe the weather. You know, "looks can be deceiving". That's what I was thinking about when I said that. We have had a cold few days here, but I think we are in for an upturn of the temps. I think I seen where it's supposed to be in the mid to upper 60's Christmas Day, but with lots of rain. That, I guess, is better than snow. I can't even believe I said that!!!! I know I must be getting old now. hahaha
I wanted to share something with y'all today that I shared last year, and wanted to repost it again. This came about from a sermon my Pastor preached last year during the Christmas season. I don't really know what he said that caused me to have this mental image, because he was preaching about the obscure little village of Bethlehem and it had nothing to do with decorating a Christmas tree. Anyway, below is the mental picture I had that morning. When I got home from church, I started writing and it started coming together, with this being the finished product. I hope you enjoy reading it.
My Christmas Tree
What if I asked you to decorate a Christmas Tree and put only things on it that would describe you, your relationship with Jesus and your relationship with others. Could you do it? Would you do it? I was sitting in church service Sunday morning and as the Pastor spoke, I was concentrating on his sermon and all the time I kept getting this mental picture. Do any of y'all ever get that mental picture that you just can't get out of your head? I do. Sometimes mine is an all out comedy skit of something that he is preaching on. Yeah, I know, only I could find the humor in some of the things that he preaches on and, by the way, every bit of it is scriptural. I just have say that I know God has a very good sense of humor, because He gave me a pretty good one. So, I can actually blame it on Him, right. ggg Anyway, as he was speaking, I kept seeing a Christmas Tree in my mind. I finally just had to ask God what that was. Well, it was a Christmas Tree that was decorated with things that represented my relationship with Jesus and the people in my life. I didn't get a really clear image of it though. I was so intrigued by the idea that I thought I would try to mentally decorate a Christmas Tree for y'all and describe it as I go.
So, first off it would have to be a Cedar Tree. A Cedar tree never looses it branches and it stays green all the time. It will grow in places that a lot of other trees can't. It has a smell that only the cedar tree has. I love the smell of cedar. As a small child, I would pick up cedar shavings and smell them. I would actually rub them on my nose and sleep with them and get them tangled in my hair. Anyway, that's what we always had growing up and I remember all the fun I had when I got to help decorate it. Sometimes, I would get to decorate it more than once if it fell over. hehehe Redecorating is not as fun as it was to decorate it the first time. So, Cedar Tree it is.
Next I would put lots of colored lights on it. I do love the clear lights, but I am a colorful person and I love lots of color, so colored lights it is. God didn't say anything about colored lights or clear, He just said to let our light shine for others to see. And we are not to put our light under a bushel, but to have it out and shining bright. So, I do believe a lot of colored lights on my tree would be seen. So, colored lights, it is.
Next, for garland, I might string some popcorn and put that on my tree. Most everyone likes or loves popcorn. It does smell wonderful when it's popping. What is the first thing you smell when you go to the movie theater? Yeah, popcorn. The smell of it is inviting and pleasing. Have you every thought about popcorn? It takes a lot of heat, to make that kernel of corn transform into something that is so delicious. It has to "go thru the fire", so to speak, for it to be transformed into something that we love so much. Guess what, we have to "go thru the fire" also, to be transformed into something useful that God can use. Notice I said "go" thru the fire to be made into useful. If popcorn stays in the fire too long, it goes from delectable to detestable in just a matter of seconds. Sometimes we take our eyes off the popcorn and it burns. God will never take His eyes off us and He goes thru the fire with us. We are never alone. So, popcorn it is.
Next comes the decorations. First, I think I would want a box of crayons. They represent the big box of 64 that I had as a child. I loved those crayons and the many hours of pleasure they brought me. They also represent the fact that it's ok to color outside the lines. Our artistic skill, love and abilities come from God, so I will embrace my artistic side with the crayons. Next, I think there would be some big beautiful colorful buttons scattered about on my tree. I have always loved buttons. I learned to count with buttons. I always loved to play with buttons while Mom was sewing. Buttons are very useful. They hold stuff together. They can be plain and be useful. They can be very ornate and still be just as useful. So, a few buttons goes on my tree, just to make sure I stay buttoned up and together. Next, I would want at least eight different cookie cutters hanging on my tree. Six to represent the guys in our house; dad and five brothers. Then two to represent mom and me. Cookies was always a special treat. I would want them all to be different, because we are all different. God made all His children different, so mine would have to be different too.
Next I would want some glass ornaments. Glass ornaments of all different shapes colors and sizes. God made us in His image in all different shapes colors and sizes, but none the less, all still in His image. The glass represents how fragile we are. If not handled correctly, they shatter. So do we, when we are not handled correctly.
Next, I would have 37 small gold wedding rings hanging on my tree for all to see. Those would be as a reminder of the all the Christmases my husband and I have spent together. Representing all the good times and the bad, knowing that God was in the midst of it all. With the hopes of adding many more as each year rolls around. The circle also represents the un-ending love that God has for His children. Yes, a few gold wedding bands it is.
Next, I would want a few beautifully decorated acorns. Those remind me of times when my husband and I have gone on acorn hunts and found some really large acorns. I bake them in a low temp oven (to kill any insects or eggs that may be in them) for a couple hours, and turn the oven off, leave them over night and the next day they are ready to decorate. From a small acorn comes the mighty oak. They grow really tall on the upside of the ground. On the underside, where we can't see, they put down really deep roots! So, I want to represent Jesus Christ well when you see me, but I also want to know that I am firmly rooted in Christ. The roots are very important when the storms of life come thru, they determine whether you survive it. Everything above ground can be damaged, but as long as the root system is ok, the tree can come out of it. I may be shaken, but if I'm rooted in Christ, I can survive any storm.
Next, I think I would like to have some trumpets on my Christmas Tree. I have a few, and when I do decorate, I love using them. I love the sound of the trumpet. Of course, I couldn't make a sound come out of one if my life depended on it. But, I do enjoy the sound of them. And I do keep my ear pealed, listening for the great trumpet blast that will take place when Jesus comes again. So, yes I will have a few trumpets. Next, I would have to have one small broken ornament on my tree. Why that, you ask? If we are honest with ourselves and God, we are all broken, in some way. That's what sin does, it causes brokenness, and we can't fix it. God can and does when we come to Him with our sin. So, that one small broken ornament would be a reminder to me, that although it is broken, it is still loved and useful. God can use each and every one of us, with our brokenness, to His benefit and glory.
Next, y'all know I love me some purple! If you don't, it's not because I haven't told ya! hahaha Yeah, I think I would have some purple scraps of fabric on my Christmas Tree. Why scraps of fabric? I am reminded of Lydia. The lady from the Bible. She was a seller of purple cloth and she also loved the Lord. Purple is a symbol of royalty. Since I am a daughter of the Most High God, I think just a few purple scraps would do me well on my tree. Next, I think I would have to have me some pearls on my tree. Pearl is my birthstone and fittingly so. Pearls are the result of an irritation that takes place in the oyster. Think about how bad an ulcer hurts, that's about similar to the kind of irritation that produces a pearl. The Bible speaks of pearls as having great value. The gates of Heaven will be made from pearls. Each gate will be made from one large pearl. That's one large source of irritation for each pearl!!! One of my very dear friends and I have special names for each other. She is Pearl Love, because she is the epitome of Love, Gods love!!!! I am Pearl Joy. My Joy comes from the Lord. There is also scripture that says not to cast your pearls before swine. So, pearls it is.
Next I would have to have to have a ladybug on my tree. The red one, that is. Who doesn't love a ladybug. Scientists done an experiment on ladybugs a few years ago and found out they are possibly the strongest creature on earth. They can pick up over 600 times their own body weight with those little suction feet of theirs. Pretty amazing, huh! They are very strong little buggers. The ladybug would represent my mom, one of the strongest people I have ever known. That's what I call my mom sometimes too. Next, I would have to have a little sweet pea flower on my Christmas Tree. They are a small, dainty flower; everything that I ain't! hahaha The wild ones found in nature are usually purple, woohoo. They do smell good. They are considered to be a good gift. They represent "good fortune", so I say that my good fortune can be found only in what Jesus Christ has done for me. This is what my mom calls me sometimes too. So, sweet pea it is.
Next, I love to have candy canes shaped like a shepherds staff. The shepherds staff reminds me that the shepherd looks after his sheep. Shepherds were the lowest of the low, but God chose them to announce His plans to that night in the fields while watching their sheep. Wow, talk about a chosen group of men that night! The shepherds staff was a useful tool to. Sometimes he has to use his staff to get one of the sheep that may have fallen in a crevice or something like that. He can just reach out and pull a sheep back to where it belongs. But the shepherd always has his sheep's best interest at heart. The sheep knows the shepherds voice, the shepherd knows the voice of his sheep. So it is with Christ as our Shepherd, He recognizes our voice, we recognize His voice and He always has our best interests at heart. Next, I think I would need a few heart shaped ornaments on my tree. The heart represents great love. We see the heart of Christ from the beginning to end of the Bible. We also have learned to love, because Christ loved us first. Sometimes it is hard for us to love as Christ loves. But He has taught us to love others, even our enemies. So, I will have a few hearts on my tree as a reminder to love others.
When I get it all decorated with all the different ornaments and items I want on my tree, there's just a couple of things left. I would take a few hands full of glitter and toss it on the tree. Why glitter? It sparkles, it shines, and it shimmers!!!! It makes you smile when you see it. If you get close enough to someones glitter, you get it on you. It's a reminder that you was with that person and enjoyed time spent with them. I can just imagine how the streets of gold are gonna glimmer, sparkle and shimmer. So glitter, it is.
Last but not least, by any means is the tree topper. My tree topper would be a Cross. The symbol of what Christ has done for me and who I am in Him. It would not have to be the finest Cross ever made. I'll gladly take a rough cut, precariously nailed cross for my tree topper. The Cross was not ever meant to be a thing of beauty. The only way the Cross becomes a symbol of beauty is when it represents the transformation that has taken place in my life as a result of the finished work of Christ on the cross. If you see someone wearing a cross, ask them what it means to them. See if it means the same thing to them that it means to you. If not, share with them what the cross represents to you. So, a Cross it is for my topper.
There you have it. A Cedar Tree, colored lights, popcorn, crayons, buttons, cookie cutters, glass ornaments, acorns, gold wedding rings, small broken ornament, trumpets, purple fabric scraps, pearls, a lady bug, a sweet pea flower, shepherd staff candy cane, hearts, glitter and a cross. These are the things that would make up my Christmas Tree to describe who I am.
What would you use to describe who you are? Think about it. When I got done putting everything down to describe my tree, then it all came into focus and this is exactly what I saw when my Pastor was preaching Sunday morning. His sermon was about what came from Bethlehem, such a small and obscure little town. How in the world I got this from his sermon, I'll never know. Other than it just being what I call a God "thang". I do have to say that I am quite pleased with my Christmas Tree. I hope you will do the same thing this Christmas season and share your Christmas Tree with those around you. (written by patty in 2015)
Well Christmas will be in four days. I hope and pray as the day approaches that we will be ever mindful that Yeshua, Jesus Christ's life was a life filled with purpose. His life set the example for our lives. Our lives should be filled with purpose. Two of those purposes are to worship God and to share Yeshua, Christ with others to grow the kingdom. We don't have to preach a sermon, just live lives that speak louder than any sermon. Love speaks. Love loud. Emulate our Savior.
Well, that's about it for now. If I don't pop back in before Christmas Day, Merry Christmas y'all and enjoy all the festivities and beauty of this time of year and lets all try to keep the spirit of why we celebrate alive and in our hearts. Just remember that God loved us enough to give us the VERY best gift that could ever be given! I love y'all too! hugs and love, Patty