I came home tonight to a dark Christmas tree. Obviously. You don’t leave it plugged in when you’re gone. I turned on a small lamp and went about my way. When I returned it to the living room, I realized that I never turned the tree back on. It hit me then just how dull it really looked. It was darker than the rest of the house, making it seem rather eerie. How odd is it that a Christmas tree, which is such a joyful and happy and beautiful thing, can be dull. All it really needed was to be plugged in. The help of one person to make it shine. Don’t get me wrong, in the daylight the tree is still beautiful even without the lights. Yet, give it a dark situation and that changes. It falters.
Dear friends, being a Christian is in no way, shape, or form an easy task. It’s something that I believe is impossible to handle alone. Life is tough. There is absolutely no way around that – you will falter. Darkness will come, be it small or mighty. And you will look rough. Joy you once knew will be hard to uncover, and beauty you once saw will be difficult to seek.
But guys – that’s just it. The beauty of it lies within the ability to shine again.
When the light is on in the dark, it’s prettiest the tree has ever been.
It cannot be done alone. We were created to love one another, to be in fellowship with one another. To take each other by the hand and tackle these struggles together. Without the placement of lights and ornaments and garland on a tree, it is simply a tree. Our Lord gives us the brightest of lights and graces us with the most winsome of ornaments. And beyond that, he provides the friends and family that help us piece it together – bit by bit, time after time – until we are finally left with his masterpiece. It can be dull and darkened, yet it can fill up hearts and spread the truest of joys. A masterpiece that is never truly finished and always has room for improvement – but a masterpiece none the less.
I have had so much help to become what I am, who I am. I have rough days and weeks and months and minutes and everything in between. I’d be the first to admit that I’m a Charlie Brown tree. But, like his, the Lord provided both the opportunity and the friends to surround me and pour into me and sing words of encouragement to me. And as the Lord sees me, I’m a beauty. So for him, I will stand proud.