Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Christmas Tree

My Christmas season has bustled with being busy and has been consumed with much baking. But in the midst of those moments, I have smiled and remembered and laughed more than I have in a long time during the holiday season.
  This Christmas holds a joy to it which has been missing the last few years. Death and grief can do that. Those 2 ugly partners can steal the moments of joy that are typically found at the holiday season. But this year, this year has been different, and I am thanking God for that. It's a marker in time for me, as much of this year has been.
 I have missed being with you here on my blog lately, but the events of the season have taken priority. Joseph chose to make buckeyes, Elizabeth and I made our family tradition passed down by mom- Futtimuhns. I made a McKinney favorite of cinnamon bread for my family and everyone in the office. Peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies...the list goes on. I haven't baked this much since I was  child. But I have had so much fun doing it.
 However, I have missed the quiet moments of sitting and sharing my thoughts.
 So this morning, as I sit quietly with my coffee, enjoying my lit up Christmas tree, the thoughts flow. This time of year I reflect not only on memories of growing up and of new memories being made with the family , but it's a time I begin to really reflect on what the year has been for me and what I envision or "goal plan" my next year to hold. Those thoughts will definitely consume the next few blogs. However, this morning, as I soak in the sight of my tree, I am struck by a certain line of thought.
  My tree is dying, actually. It still stands tall, but it's top is beginning to tilt to the side. The pine needles are still green, but they are more of a dull green than a brilliant forest green, and they are more steadily falling to the ground. More gaps are showing between the branches, leaving ornaments which are on the heavier side, struggling to hold on to the branch as it droops. Sadly, the tree is dying.
 And then it dawned on me- I don't remember the last time I watered it. Oops. I have been so busy baking and shopping and watching Christmas favorites and tending to a million details like many of us  do, that I neglected that small, and yet so important, of a detail. Admittedly, I would think of it for a second but tell myself, oh, i'll get it later, it'll be fine for tonight. And "tonight" turned into... I don't even know how many nights. Oops.
  But that led me to think about my spiritual life. I am to drink in God's Word just like a tree needs to drink water. Yet how often do I find myself saying "oh, I'll do it later." or "I'll be fine today..." and then little by little my "branches" begin to droop, and some of my brilliant light (joy) which comes from time with God begins to be a little more dull. Still there, but not quite as bright and bouncy.
 I am much like my dying pine tree. If I don't water my life and drink in the Word of God, I will begin to dry up. I will grow more weary.  I will have less light shining off me. Good intentions of doing for others and enjoying the season again can become lost because I can easily grow weary if I am not also taking time to sit still, listen to what God has to say and spend that time with Him. I can (ahem, I have) grow short with the kids and/or husband because I am tired and grumpy instead of being full of God's joy, simply because I have neglected a few minutes alone with Him.
 One day of not having that quiet time alone with God, drinking in His word, can easily become 2, 3 4 and so on, just like not watering my tree has done the same.
  And so this morning, my dying (but still beautiful tree) has taught me a lesson. A reminder of the importance of drinking in God's Word...and really, what this season is all about anyway. The baking and the shopping and the movies are fun, but the whole reason we have any and all of that is because of the most beautiful gift sent years ago in the form of the baby Jesus. A miraculous story, so often taken for granted.
 This Christmas, i am grateful to be enjoying the festivities again. But by the end of the week, I believe my tree will have had it (even with its fresh drink of water today). I am so thankful for the beauty it has shined in our home this December. But this morning, as I sit in front of it, I am just as thankful for the little lesson it has given me this morning. While it will go away by the end of the month, I can find new freshness and life every single day in the Word of God.  What a beautiful picture that is. May my light shine bright every day, one day at a time,  for His glory, just as the lights on my tree glow in the dark.

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