Washington is nicknamed the Evergreen State, and there is no better time to appreciate our evergreen glory than December. Shortly after Thanksgiving, the U-Cut farms begin to advertise their wares, and we head off, ax in hand. Some years I select a majestic Noble for the long arms that allow my ornaments to be freely displayed. I’m also fond of the Douglas. Its bushy green beard and pinched pine scent fill the room. I love, too, the Grand; its gray under-needle is sophisticated and vintage. Each has a unique beauty.
Despite that, once the tree is home, a decision must be made. Which side will face the wall?
Usually, it’s the side that appears a little thin or misshapen or has an unsightly hole or a dry patch. Sometimes branches hang so awkwardly that I can’t tie them back with twine to fake lushness. The side that I perceive as weakest or least attractive is pushed toward the wall, hidden from view. The best branches must face out.
I’ve recently realized that I sometimes present myself to the world, and to the Lord, in the same manner. I do the emotional equivalent of a tree-branch comb-over; I take my best, healthiest bits and use them to hide my bald spots. And if necessary, I use a wall to my advantage. I don’t want others to see my unsightly habits or where I have been singed, or where I’m spiritually dry. I want to be loved, and I mistakenly think I’ll find that by being lovely.
Artificial Christmas trees are perfectly lovely, but they are plastic. Even the best always seems a little unreal. Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree is the iconic unchosen leftover. Yet the reason we love his tree so much is that in its weakness, its vulnerability, its smallness, its beauty is found.
It is real. And so are we, you and I.
God sees your bald spots; he understands your weaknesses. He made you just as you are, and as the saying goes, he doesn’t make mistakes. There is no side of you that needs to face the wall. You are beautiful and beloved from every angle.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Giveaway: Enter to win a copy of my The One Year Experiencing God’s Love Devotional! If you already own a copy, I’m happy to send a signed copy to whoever you choose! To enter, leave a comment below letting me know if you have trimmed your tree and home for Christmas or if you wait till closer to the holiday.
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