Tree Jealousy

And when I see all those beautiful pictures on Instagram, I admit I have felt a twinge of tree jealousy.

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Tree jealousy.  I’ve never heard the term, but I’m pretty sure it’s a real thing. At least, here at my house and in my heart it’s been a real thing.  Decorating the Christmas tree together is a tradition Cameron and I started when we were newlyweds. I make homemade hot chocolate and we turn on Christmas music. As our family has grown we have incorporated the kids into this tradition, and as ornament parties at school have become very popular, my little sweeties seem to make five or six homemade ornaments every year. Just multiply that times four and you have a tree-full of homemade ornaments! My girls absolutely love to decorate the tree and they are so proud of their little creations.

I have some friends who have absolutely beautiful trees that look like they came right out of a Southern Living magazine. And when I see all those beautiful pictures on Instagram, I admit I have felt a twinge of tree jealousy. We inherited our tree from my husband‘s parents and it leans a little to the left. I cannot talk my crew into white lights. Add in all those carefully constructed ornaments created by tiny fingers, and well, you get the picture! 

The outward appearance is just not what you think the centerpiece of a home’s Christmas decorations should look like, but then, neither was the sacred day we spend all this effort remembering and celebrating.  When Mary said yes to the angel standing there in all his majesty, she probably imagined that the birth of the son of God would reflect the glory of heaven like the appearance of this fearsome creature. But God had something different in mind.  
What did Mary think when door after door of their relatives in Bethlehem closed in their faces, and she heaved her very pregnant self back up on that donkey?  What went through her mind in the cold of the biting wind when Braxton Hicks clamped down on her and there was no pain medicine?  And no place to have her baby?  The pain of rejection burned through her heart and the sting of her tears on her face was the only warmth.  But she had said yes.  
Yes to the miraculous, amazing plan of God.  And it looked like this.  It looked like a barn full of animals and their smells and no heat or sanitary birthing room.  It looked like labor without an epidural or a midwife or a doctor to deliver her precious one.  When she looked at Joseph as he led her into that structure… possibly a cave-like building carved in the side of the hill… what went through their minds?  What was the look they exchanged?  Had they missed it?  Did they mess up somehow?  Had God changed his mind?
This did not look the way anyone would expect the birth of divinity to play out.  Especially the ones who had seen the breathtaking glory of that angel.  And yet God chose to wrap the birth of Jesus in the most humble, human wrappings.  There were not white twinkling lights and beautiful decorations,  but there was the ultimate expression of love.  He became like us —like us at our most vulnerable.  To reach us.  To empathize with us.  To speak to us in a way our hearts could hear.  If we will.  
And somehow God didn’t value the appearance or the comfort of this event that split history in two.  It didn’t matter to God that the long-awaited arrival of the Messiah took place in relative obscurity hidden away from most of the world.  What mattered was the hearts that said yes to His will and His timing.  They took the next step.  And it was hard.  And not what they imagined.  But God was in their midst, and He became real to them in a way all of creation had been longing for.  And the plan of the enemy felt the first rumblings of defeat as that baby took his first breath and pierced the cold Judean air with his cries.  
And everything changed.
And somehow 2,000 years later God doesn’t value the appearance of my tree. He sees are the hearts in the room around it.  What grabs His heart is how He longs for all of us to say yes.  To His will and His timing.  So that we can experience His nearness in a way we would never have imagined.  Even when it is hard.  Especially when it is hard.  And our yes is the first step to the enemy being defeated in our lives.  
And everything can change.
Even how I view my beautiful, homemade tree.
Featured Image by Debby Hudson 
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About the Author

I wear the many hats of pastor's wife, mom, blogger, and speech language pathologist. My husband and I have a vision to see the kingdom of God expand as people encounter a real and living God at Newsong church in Monroe, Georgia. My purpose as a blogger is to share my story of loss and restoration with the broken so that the hope of Jesus and the the power of His resurrection life will bring them into their destiny. Check out my story at