Christmas trees and our rationalizing ego (John 11:45-57)

Last night at approximately 9:05pm I made a monumental decision for our family. I made the decision to exchange our Christmas Tree. This was not easy! As I pondered the reverberating affects that this will have on my ego, our family and any person that comes through the doors of our house for the next month, I realized that I had no choice but to get a different tree.

Here is the context….on Monday we loaded up and drove all over eastern Jackson County looking for the perfect tree. We went to a nursery and couldn’t stomach spending $100 on a tree. Then went to Westlake and didn’t like the selection. From there it was out to a tree farm to cut our own. This was going to be fun….so we walked all over the fields having fun….because I said we were going to have fun. The girls were freezing and coughing but since I said this was going to be fun…we had fun! That is, until I realized we were not going to find the “perfect tree” for the perfect price. We found a few we liked, but again they were all about $100…(think of all the children we could feed for $100 ).

There had to be another option. We went to another nursery and then stopped at the Boy Scout tent…and found the perfect tree….for a very good price. Problem…no one was there to take our money. How can you have Christmas Trees for sale and no one there to take the cash? Oh well, by this time we were tired and ready to go home, but we still did not have a tree. We ploughed on ahead…another nursery and finally back to Westlake. Alexa and I went to the bottom of the pile (since all the good one’s are on the bottom) and found the perfect tree. It was the right height, dark green (spray paint always helps), very full and cheap. We were pumped! I jammed it into the back of the mini-van….yes, the mini-van (Yet another reminder that I don’t have a truck and that I am now middle-aged with kids).

When we unloaded, I found my hand-saw and burned my way through about one inch…the saw kept sticking and my arm was getting sore. So I found the hammer (the hammer always makes me feel better) and chisel and took off the excess and sawed some more…finally, I had made it through the tree trunk. It was at this time I began to see flaws in this perfect tree. The most obvious was that it had a serious case of scoliosis…the stem grew totally our of kilter.   It took us forever to get it to stand up….I finally anchored it to the window with fish string. One more little problem…one side of the tree was full and beautiful….the other side looked more like it had a terminal illness.  Of course, I stayed in denial for several days.

I will just admit it now that from the very beginning, Leigh-Ann said we should take it back. Naw…it will be fine I said….it needs some ornaments, lights, water and love. Maybe if we play Christmas music (classical of course) it will straighten up.

So last night, I finally was willing to admit that I picked a delinquent tree. Rather than stare my ego in the face every time I walk in the door, I will do the right thing and return the tree. The decision is monumental because of all that it communicates….I was not careful in choosing…I noticed imperfections soon after returning home before we even brought it into the house and IGNORED my gut feeling to return it…I made excuses that are all invalidated (if that is a word) by my choice….Leigh-Ann was right-UGH!

This Sunday we will discover that there are situations that are far more serious than the one mentioned above that need to be addressed in each of our lives. For days, months and often years we have rationalized a way to “do Christianity.” We have more often than not “been doing it all wrong.” As we take a microscopic look at John 11: 45-57 we will have the opportunity to learn from those who had it all wrong. If you think about it, as you pray for the services on Sunday, you can say a prayer for me that we will find that elusive “perfect tree” tonight.

Merry Christmas!

Troy

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