Pastor Troy's Column

December 20, 2023

Christmas Eve

“For Unto us a child is born.”

One year when I was getting all the Christmas decorations out of the attic, I discovered that our artificial Christmas tree had literally fallen apart. We really didn’t have the money to go buy another one so I decided to take the boys out and we’d cut a tree down. We went from tree to tree trying to find the right one. One was too skinny. One was too fat. One was too blue and one was too scrawny. The boys would look and look and look at the trees, going over each one and then talk amongst themselves about whether it was a good one or not.

I had a great time just watching them. The oldest was about six years old then and my youngest liked being carried around on my shoulders.

Finally, we came upon a perfect tree. It had full branches and a perfect triangular shape. There were even pine cones on it and the boys all went crazy talking about how much they loved it.

After cutting it down, I soon discovered that the boys would rather ride on the tree as I drug it back to the truck instead of helping me pull it. Which was fine. Except when they kept saying, “Faster, Daddy! Faster!” when Daddy was doing his best to catch a second wind.

We got it loaded up and back to the house and as we pulled it inside, I discovered a really important fact. You should always measure how tall your ceiling is before you cut down a tree. Our ceilings were eight feet tall.

Our tree was twelve.

I took it back outside and cut off a couple more feet on the bottom. I pulled it back in and it was still too tall. So, I did it again. And then again.

Finally, I got it to stand up, but there was a problem. The crown of the tree had a spike sticking up about a foot. I could get the tree to stand up, but the top of it was pushed against the ceiling.

I’m pretty well frustrated by now so I took my saw and chopped off the top. Which made it look like a pyramid without the tip top block.

Then my wife, who had been ever so helpful during this process, said, “We won’t have room for the Angel on top.”

Grrr.

Again, the tree came down and it got another foot lopped off.

By now, this poor tree which had looked so beautiful and full and tall in the woods had been transformed into a short, overly plump ogre.

Not the tree I had hoped for when we first saw it.

The boys didn’t care and the wife said it looked beautiful. And I sat and watched as they hung decorations and laughed as they went around and around with the tinsel. My middle son made a big presentation of a new ornament he had made in school. My oldest son said a prayer for the tree, thanking God for such a beautiful tree. And my youngest son laughed and laughed and laughed as I lifted him up to put the Angel on top.

That night after everyone had gone on to bed, I sat exhausted in the living room looking at the tree. It really was ugly. I had taken too much off the top and way too much off the bottom. But to me, it was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen.

The way things look aren’t as important as what they mean.

The Savior of the world was born in a stall in the back of a barn. When you look at its outward appearance it’s an ugly, sad scene. A poor young couple with no place to go. A mother having a child in the worst of circumstances.

The way things look aren’t as important as what they mean.

This Christmas day, don’t worry so much as to how things look. Instead look at what they mean. For unto us a child is born and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Have a happy and blessed Christmas.

Let us pray.

Our most precious savior. To you this day we give our thanks and blessings. For the life you lived and the Kingdom you established we are eternally grateful. For it is in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

The best laid plans of mice and men always go awry.

Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.



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