Sometimes Christmas doesn’t go as planned. Scratch that. Christmas never goes as planned. Not entirely, anyway.
Our Christmas tree has been put out to pasture which, in this case, is our back garden. Undecorating it the day after Christmas – Boxing Day – was a bit gloomy but the poor thing had been refusing water for at least a week, even though Doug cut the trunk after it was delivered. In all honestly, with its droopy, needle-shedding branches shrouding our gifts, it should have been put out of its misery on Christmas day but who does that? So we kept the thing propped up and pretended it was alive, like Weekend at Bernie’s.
Today, however, it’s gone, replaced with a perky but too-green-to-be-real pencil tree we bought to accommodate the lounge of our tiny first rental house.
I love stepping into a home or pub or church or hall that has been beautifully and unapologetically decked. But in reality, our humble Christmas Day tree was more reminiscent of a weathered feeding trough. Our expiring tree more aptly pointed to a tree stained with blood and tears. Both wooden structures held The Gift of all gifts. But only temporarily.
For He no longer lays in the manger and he no longer hangs on the cross and that is why the joy and peace and victory of Christmas aren’t confined to a day. Trees die and, heartbreakingly, people do as well. But Christ was born, Christ was crucified, Christ was resurrected to end that. God in the flesh offering us life eternal, the newborn offering new birth.
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