The Perfect Tree
January 9, 2009 § 2 Comments
This Christmas our family experienced something we never before have. Each year we set out to find a Christmas tree – not just any tree, mind you. If you know anything about us, you know that it has to be the perfect tree. I use the word, ‘we’ loosely because Katherine and our daughters are not nearly as concerned about the tree as I am (our son used to be part of the process, but now he goes after his own Christmas trees). It isn’t that they don’t care, rather it is that, in contrast to my perspective, theirs involves sanity.
We have driven throughout entire cities, spent hours and walked miles on tree farms looking for this tree. Needless to say, it hasn’t always been the most enjoyable experience. Many wannabe trees have availed themselves to my ruthless scrutiny only to be turned away for the most minor of imperfections – you would think I had no knowledge of the Gospel when it comes to trees. Suffice it to say that we have our stories (cringe)…
This year was different though. It happened to be one of the coldest days in November and the wind chill was excruciatingly harsh. So we went to a local high school and, amazingly, we picked the first tree we looked at. I bit my lip to not suggest we investigate just a ‘few’ more trees. Within a half hour we were home. It was still light outside! And marvel of marvels, everyone was happy – thrilled, in fact. But not only that, it turns out that this became our all-time favorite Christmas tree. Go figure.
Here is my encouragement for the New Year: Don’t waste your days and love pursuing the impossible. Perfection is an illusion. Instead, enjoy the Perfect One and rest in His Grace. The temptation to reject God’s Grace comes with the prideful suggestion that we can attain something that the Cross alone brings. So trust me with what you already know: You are going to sin, struggle, fall and fail in 2009. Therefore remind yourself – it never was about your ability to be perfect in the first place. Being unfinished is the most beautiful aspect of belonging to God’s family, because it means being loved and ‘becoming’ in God’s work of making us ‘mature and complete’ (James 1:4).
Settle on what Charlie Brown taught us years ago – there are no perfect trees, but there are many Beautiful ones (only, promise to gently remind me of this in November).