Like life, decorating the tree and making it beautiful can be a challenge but what if one thing that hung on the tree made all things beautiful?

©Joy Dunlap

Strewn about on the floor near the brightly lit tree lay a variety of Christmas ornaments. Each one carrying the memory of a place, a person, or experience. The bird in the tree painted as a childhood project with my mom. The Moroccan hat and shoes from a mission trip to northern Africa. The lighthouse Charlie and I got together on our first Christmas cruise.

Then there’s the lovely but sterile glass ornament from a friend who doesn’t know the Lord, although I hope and pray she will one day experience peace and joy through the Savior.

When the Christmas tree is finished, it will be beautiful, full of memories and meaning. I am confident it will end up that way because the tree itself is the foundation – sturdy with multi-colored LED lights that last.

And, when I really think about it, it would be enough if only the tree and its welcoming lights shone brightly.

Yet as I look at all those ornaments – around 90 of them – waiting to be placed on the tree, and consider all the work I feel needs to be done, it strikes me that we’re both works in progress – my Christmas tree and me!  And, we both seem far from being finished!

Yes, there is a plan.  But we still have to go through the chaos and messy parts to get to the finished work.

A beautiful ball, valuable in the sentiment in holds, slips out of my grasp and shatters leaving tiny slivers that manage to stick me long after I think they’ve been cleaned up.

While decorating the tree this year, one ornament latched onto the leg of my PJs.  I stumbled, hopped, and swayed with it dangling from my foot trying to shake it loose. I tried to grab it while balancing on the other foot but that only threw me more off balance.  I managed to right myself without falling or crushing other cherished ornaments but then I stepped right on that beloved ornament of more than 30 years cracking it.

I don’t know about you, but some days – I stumble and sway.  And break things.

But in Christ, we know that when our lives on earth are done, the finished product will be beautiful beyond compare.  More marvelous than anything we can describe or imagine.

And today, well, today, despite the breakage we incur and the bondage we create for ourselves, our lives can be full and free with God’s peace and joy. 

Not because of any deeds we do. Not because of any décor we add.

But because of the One who lovingly hung on the tree. 

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together…

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:16-17,19-20 NIV

  • What do you enjoy decorating the most in the Christmas season?
  • If you could keep only one decorated aspect of your home for the holidays what would it be?  Table? Wreath? Tree?
  • Which ornament would you keep if you could choose only one?
  • What is an area of your life that feels cracked, broken or unfinished right now?
  • In what three ways can you intentionally choose to see Jesus more clearly in the clutter of the season?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17 NIV


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™

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