Sunday, March 5, 2017

Adorned

This Christmas season has been a little unusual for me. I got to see it from somewhat of a different perspective as I was traveling  and for that I am grateful. It has not been completely traditional but it has been significant. The one image that keeps coming back to me this year, no matter where I have traveled, is that of the Christmas Tree.
It is said that a 16th century German preacher named Martin Luther was the first person to have brought a Christmas tree into his house. As the legend goes, he was walking through the forest one night when he looked up and saw the stars shining through the branches. The sight memorized him. He went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of Heaven to come to earth that first Christmas.
And this December as Christmas trees all over have caught my eye; I couldn't help but see exactly what he meant. The sight itself wasn’t new at all, but the revelation was something unique. I have seen a number of Christmas trees throughout the years, making memories at the tree farm with my family and decorating with my mom but there was something this time that was different.
Alluring.
There was just something that made me literally stop and take the tree in—from the sparkly star on top to the adorned branches below.
I dare say it was a Holy moment.
Because as I gazed at the glittery decorations against a backdrop of evergreen, I couldn't help but see us through God's eyes. Like the tradition we so fondly love, God adorns our simple branches in the most beautiful way. From the way the tree is covered in lights to the way it points to something much greater than it, completely captivated my heart.
A Christmas tree is such a common thing on its own. It is simply composed of branches and wood. But what a difference it makes when it starts to shine. When one by one ornaments are added in just the right spot. It is transformed into a sight of splendor and beauty and it begins to carry memories. It carries wonder.  And it carries purpose.
And oh how we are so much the same when God starts to adorn our lives with His presence.
With His promise and with His purpose.
We begin bare and blank, but we hold opportunity. We hold the ability to carry beauty. And we become marked by glitter and hooks and shiny balls and unique pieces of our story. Like the wood the branches stand upon, we are carved into many different things. We become masterpieces, each one different and wonderful in its own way.
I hope you take a minute to really ponder that imagery and I hope you shine  for Christ as brightly as the bulbs nestled in the branches, but I think it is more than that. I think perhaps the greatest lesson a Christmas tree can teach us, is faithfulness. The trees we decorate with each year, also called evergreens are one of the most unique plants in nature because they are the only ones that keep foliage all year round. Other plants lose their leaves and buds, but the evergreen weathers everything. In fact they are named for that the trait of always being green—ever green! I think there's something so extraordinary in that. It's as if God is saying if this plant can make it through all the seasons and still bloom, so can you.
This has also sort of become a personal motivation for me because my name is a type of Evergreen—one that has spiny leaves and bright red berries and that is used all around Christmas time. I think about the Holly Bush and I'm reminded that God made it to withstand. He made it incredibly unique. He made it to last.
The irony continues beyond my name though. I was also brought home from the hospital as a newborn baby to a little place called Evergreen, Alabama. It seems God had a divine message from since before I was born. But I don't think the message was just for me; I think it is for me to share. I believe we are all called to be like the Christmas tree. I think we are created to point to Him. To adorn our lives with Him. To shine brightly in a dark world and to withstand life's many seasons. To continue to bloom. And to always have hope for tomorrow.
The Christmas tree is a simple concept, but its richness is as deep as its many branches. Take a look at one this year and remember where it points. Remember we are called to do the same. Happy Birthday to the King of Kings and Merry Christmas everyone!
– Only Hope
or in the spirit of this blog:
Holly

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