Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reflections on a Christmas tree

We're now just days away from Christmas, and our tree is STILL only partially decorated. Perhaps you're not quite finished decorating, either. If so, you might need this post as much as I do.

As I considered the fact that our Christmas tree is still not finished, I thought to myself, "I feel guilty that we haven't already finished the decorating and put all the boxes away."

And then I realized how many times over the past few days I've heard people speak of feeling guilty.

"I feel guilty that I didn't put up a tree this year," or "I feel guilty that our tree is artificial," or "I feel guilty that we cut down a live tree for Christmas."

"I feel guilty that I haven't made any Christmas cookies," or "I feel guilty that I've eaten too many Christmas cookies."

"I feel guilty that I can't give my kids what they want for Christmas," or "I feel guilty that I've bought my kids too much for Christmas."

Is there no end to it?

Of course, we feel guilty because we are guilty, and we know it. Every single one us is flawed. We all come up short. Not one of us is perfect.

But the very reason we celebrate Christmas is that the Lord of all Creation loved us enough to save us. He didn't leave us in our flaws and shortcomings. The Christ of Christmas is the One who came to earth and lived as a human in order to show us what a life without shortcomings would look like. And then He gave up his life in order for us to released from the guilt of our own sins and to live in freedom.

I think the words of the old hymn put it best:

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free--
For God, the just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.*

Full of shortcomings though we are, our guilt has been taken away--cleansed by the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.  Because of Jesus, we can live a life that's no longer ruled by sin.

Christ was born to give us life that is truly life.

My prayer this season is that your Christmas tree be more than a symbol of beauty and merriment. May it be a tree of life for you.

*"Before the Throne of God Above" by C.L. Bancroft


Brittany said...

These pictures are gorgeous, and I love the old hymn you included :)

Merry Christmas!

Laura T. said...

Richella, you have done it again. Last THhursday, my small group was discussing judgment and how hard it is to balance knowing we deserve judgment and knowing we are saved from judgment. Then yesterday one of the group members admitted to her guilt over not being a better mom to her kids (she is a great mom btw). And then I read this and it says what I want her to feel and what I want everyone to realize. Thank you.

Carol said...

Now that is a REALLY good word. Thank you.

Kelly said...

That is a good reminder for all of us this time of year. Your tree is just gorgeous!

New Every Morning said...

Beautiful words, my beautiful friend. Resisting guilt this season because of His perfect gift. :)

kathie said...

Praise God, Richella, for that gift of Jesus, of pardon, of salvation, of life!

Erin @ Two Story Cottage said...

Wonderfully said! :) Your tree looks a lot like ours by the way... lots of homemade goodness.

Nadir@StitchSense said...

Beautifully said Richella. I made it a goal this year to not bog myself down with too much or feel guilty about certain gifts I couldn't get or make in time for loved ones. It took me about a minute to realize I needed to stop & just be grateful for being able to celebrate this amazing season & the birth of our savior. Perspective can be so hard to find sometimes but once you get it, you'll wonder why you didn't seek it before.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Partially decorated or not, your tree looks beautiful! Wishing you a memorable Christmas :) Your newest follower, XOLaura

sabrymagic said...

Buon Natale!!

Denise said...

Beautiful post Richella, and your tree looks gorgeous. Wishing young wonderful Christmas.
Hugs Denise

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! The partially decorated tree as well as the beautiful truth you remind us of. I often feel like I am reading a mini-devotional when I come to visit over here. It's usually just what I need to hear.
(How cool that God is using you this way!)

Aimee from said...

Richella, My sweet mother in law told me about your blog and I LOVE it! I'm your newest follower and was excited to link up to your party! I'd love to have you over for a visit and have you return the "love" while you're there!!! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Aimee from

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

I love that old hymn (and for the record, we STILL sing that in my church!)! And you know what? My family has arrived (today!) and I never got the cranberries up on my tree. And the curtain panels I wanted to finish for my dining room didn't get finished. And my nails are a mess.

Oh well!!

Anonymous said...

That hymn is a favorite. And I felt my heart melt at your words about the tree of life. My tree may not be finished, but the work on the Real Tree is finished!


Kristin said...

I needed to hear this Richella - thank you! In the midst of our renovations, we've had a lot less "Christmas" around the house this year...but you know what, once I get beyond the guilt, deep down I kind of like not having the emphasis on all the fluff of Christmas. - Thank you for the guilt free today! Love that old hymn too - have you heard the new version by Sovereign Grace music? Merry Christmas to you!

Linda said...

Thanks for posting the hymn...I needed it today! I love the last picture. Your tree is so lovely and your home is a perfect Christmasy picture! Merry Christmas to You and Yours... God Bless You in the New Year Richella.

Love, Linda

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