The wild tree in my living room reminds me that life is full of adventure as we seek God and the dreams He’s given us.
A few years ago, we decided to cut down a tree from my mother-in-law’s farm to use as our Christmas tree. We brought along some friends who did the same. Mimicking the children’s classic “We’re going on a bear hunt …,” our kids chanted, “We’re going on a tree hunt …”
If four years in a row can make a tradition, we made one – one that we never anticipated but continues to go down as a favorite holiday adventure.
This is the fourth year our living room is decked out with a tree from our hunt. I love the smell and the unconformed look of its branches wildly reaching out. God created this tree uniquely – just like he does each one of us and our dreams.
I prefer white lights and ornaments from places we’ve been and those that document my kids’ growth. I even like their handmade ones. Our tree is perfectly imperfect and radiates beauty. Maybe your Christmas tree is artificial with shining colored lights. It doesn’t matter – it’s yours.
And it’s okay if you don’t decorate for Christmas the same way every year. We’ve had artificial trees in the past, and in some ways, that’s easier. But we like the adventure that comes with my husband Greg using a chainsaw, hauling the wild tree home, and making it fit in a portion of our living room. The kids like to help decorate, stretching their little arms as high as they’ll reach.
I really love when the house is quiet and dark, but there in the corner of the living room is the glowing beauty of our tree. Sometimes I need the quiet and dark to see the glory.
I think about when God told us to adopt. We had no idea what we were getting into – talk about adventure.
I remember when I realized I was supposed to tell our infertility and adoption story because it’s my faith journey that taught me I belong to God. Yes, the earthly adoptions made us a family, but we’re also co-heirs with Christ. The parallels are exciting and the most tangible example of faith I’ve experienced.
I spend time with my community of people. It’s loud and chaotic, but God is there and I can’t imagine my life without them. That’s real life adventure right there.
There is so much goodness this time of year, but there are also so many expectations that society, relatives, and we unnecessarily put on our shoulders. The tree in my living room reminds me to let go of perfection, embrace my right now, and pursue the dreams God has for me.
In Breaking Free: The Journey, The Stories, Beth Moore wrote directly to my recovering-perfectionist heart that has been known to get discouraged even in the best of times: “No, I do not believe in fairy tales. But I do believe in God. He sent His Son for just such a purpose. Whatever the cause of our mourning, Christ can be the lifter of our heads. He can give us beauty instead of ashes … Satan wants to destroy our dreams. God wants to surpass our dreams. I believe God gives us dreams so we’ll long for God’s reality.”
Love came down and was born in a lowly manger for you and for me. We can put presents under the tree, but the Savior’s presence is what matters.
Regardless of how we feel about this or any other holiday, God redeems and breathes new life into us. And, really, isn’t that the greatest dream of all?
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3).
How that’s demonstrated in our lives varies from day to day and season to season. It certainly looks different in your life than it does mine. But let’s celebrate wherever we are. Let your life sparkle like those lights wrapped around the tree. Display your story like ornaments hanging from branches.
Like our trees, your journey isn’t going to look like mine – and that’s okay. But wherever God takes us – individually and together – is going to be beautiful because His glory will shine.
Christmas is certainly no fairy tale – it’s better. And there’s plenty of adventure to be had and dreams to be fulfilled.
Shared by: Kristin Hill Taylor