‘O Skinny Tree
He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
Oh, how I love the sparkle of the holidays! When Christmas comes around, decking the halls of my home with the aura of the season is a spiritual experience. To me, decorating is a form of visual ministry.
But this year the thought of bringing out the same ol’ tree again made my feet drag. The stores displayed a new breed of firs that made my domestic variety seem more like an overgrown weed. My outdated Norway didn’t come in an elegant Grecian urn and compared to the new trees, apparently was a bit on the heavy side. The latest trees seemed taller and more slender. I’m certain it’s a marketing scheme. As soon as everyone buys a plump tree, thin is in. But the worst thing about my antiquated spruce was its lack of illumination. My tree was so ancient the lights had to be strung manually.
As my husband unloaded our Christmas decorations out of the shed, all I could think was, I want a new tree. Gratitude in check, I tried to redirect my mind. Money was tight this year and I couldn’t justify an unnecessary purchase.
I have so much to be thankful for, I reminded myself. How silly of me to be concerned about trivial things when others have far more relevant needs.
My self-talk didn’t completely quench my desires, however. Later that day, John and I were out running errands. “I’m just going to look,” I announced as my car was lured by magnetic force into Garden Ridge Pottery.
John stayed in the car. He knew better than to shop with a desperate housewife.
I marched past the ten million poinsettias at the entrance, past the metallic pink and purple trees and there it was. A perfect tree—tall, slender and majestic. And…it was on sale.
I was already decorating in my head. Hallucinating that John would share my enthusiasm, I rushed to the car to notify him of my discovery. I imagined he would say something like, “Sweetheart, if you want it so badly, go ahead. Your wish is my greatest desire.”
Only, his lips didn’t move, except to allow a muffled snort to escape.
In the ten minutes I was inside, my knight-in-shining-SUV had fallen asleep. Disappointed that I wasn’t getting authorization for my purchase, I started the car and headed home.
As I turned on the radio, I remembered a verse I read earlier. “He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing (Zep 3:17).” During my devotional that morning, this verse leapt out at me and an excitement began to stir inside me. I had an awareness God was eager to bless me, even when I couldn’t see how. Now I wondered, Could it be that He wanted me to have that tree? Does God really care about the little things that bring me pleasure?
That’s when the idea about Craigslist, a free online classifieds site, hit me. Maybe someone else is looking for what I have. Maybe someone else would consider my old tree a new blessing.
I rushed home and posted a picture of my tree from last Christmas along with a few other decorations. Within an hour, I had an inquiry.
“Is it pre-lit?”
Hesitantly, I answered, “No, it’s not, but…”
“Good!” she exclaimed. “I don’t want a pre-lit tree. Will you be home tomorrow?”
And bam…the next morning the new owner arrived excited about her “new” tree. With the cash in my pocket, I rushed to Garden Ridge to adopt my skinny tree.
As I stood at the register I realized God does rejoice over me. In a time when I couldn’t justify the expense, he found a way to not only bless me, but bless another woman as well. I’m certain that I wouldn’t have been concerned enough to sell my old tree had I not been worried about the expense, but God used what I perceived as adversity to bless me. And when I handed the cashier the money, I think I heard Him singing over me, too.
Prayer: Lord, I’m amazed at how much You love me. You’re always looking for ways to bless me. Not only do You take care of my needs, You delight in satisfying the desires of my heart. You surround me with beauty. All I have to do is look at Your creation to see how much You love beauty. As I decorate my home this year, I’m visually reminded of Your majesty. The decorations in my home are a small reflection of Your splendor that leaves me in awe and wonder of Your great love for me. Thank you for the beauty of Your creation that ministers to my soul.
Scriptures to Ponder:
- One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple (Ps 27:4).
- From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth (Ps 50:2).
- Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all (1 Chron 29:11).
- He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me (Ps 18:19).
- Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4).
Questions to Ponder:
- Read the account of creation in Genesis 1.What do verses 10, 18, 21, 25 and 31 have in common?
- Have you ever created something and just sat back and looked at it and said to yourself, “This is good!”? How do you think God felt after He created the entire world?
- Read Genesis 2:3. Have you ever thought of God as an artist? Do you think He enjoyed just looking at His own creation? Why do you think God rested from all the work of creating that He had done?
- How do you feel when you look at something beautiful either in nature or something that human hands have fashioned?