What I Learned from an Artificial Christmas Tree

artificial Christmas tree

My family used to get real Christmas trees, but the tree we have now is an artificial Christmas tree and a very, very special tree at that! It was the tree my DeDe had in their living room before he passed away.

He passed away when I was little (I was only 5 or 6) but his stories live on through my family and those in White Oak who knew him. I love hearing stories about him. Everyone talks about how kind he was…and funny.

I love hearing about his pranks the most.

“I [volunteered] as tribute” this Christmas to put the tree together…and since it’s an artificial Christmas tree, I learned it takes exactly 19 hours to set up.

Okay, okay…maybe that’s a LITTLE dramatic…but it really does take a long time! I gained a greater appreciation for all my mom does around the house during the holiday season.

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If you’ve never dealt with an artificial Christmas tree, here’s what the process looks like:

  • open all the boxes holding tree pieces
  • separate the tree branches by color (they have colored dot stickers on them)
  • find the tree stand and “trunk”
  • put the tree stand and “trunk” together
  • take the largest branches and place them in their proper hole (each level has 6-10 branches)
  • repeat this process for all 10 levels
  • begin unfolding and spreading out each branch by reaching your arm deep into the tree
  • get artificial Christmas tree scratches from Hades up and down your arms and hands
  • repeat this process for all 6-10 branches on all 10 levels
  • lay on the couch, lifeless, and watch 3 Hallmark Christmas movies to recoup

It wasn’t until I started invading the privacy of the 15th or 16th branch that I realized…

I SHOULD HAVE UN-SPREAD THE BRANCHES BEFORE PUTTING THEM IN THEIR PROPER HOLE. The artificial Christmas tree branches should have been sprawled out and READY TO GO. How could I be so naive!? It was such an amateur move. I’m ashamed and embarrassed.

I got Artificial Christmas Tree Scratch Fever for no reason.

*raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by an artificial Christmas tree*

BUT I WAS TOO FAR GONE. THERE WAS NO TURNING BACK. In order to un-spread the branches before putting them in their hole, I’d have to take out every single branch on the remaining levels, un-spread each little branch on the actual branch, and THEN put them BACK in their holes ALL OVER AGAIN!

No, no, and no.

Ain’t gonna happen.

As I was regretting every life choice I’d made up to that point, I started thinking about stewardship and how easy (and tempting) it is to handle our gifts, talents, and passions a lot like I handled my original tree branch de-spreading process. STAY WITH ME, PEOPLE.

artificial Christmas tree

We too often want to wait until we’re “safe” and “secure” in our desired spot (or location of choice) before “branching out” (see what I did there?) and allowing ourselves to grow and thrive.

Instead of spreading ourselves out and taking up room and selflessly “filling the space” right where God has us, we keep ourselves tucked in tight. We want to wait until we’re in the place we really want to be instead of flourishing in the here and now.

I’ve obviously been EXTREMELY guilty of this (which is exactly why My One Word for 2017 was steward).

It’s easy to think our circumstances have to be “just right” or “ideal” before we give our best to those around us. When things don’t go our way, we hold back. We stop giving our best effort. We keep our time, gifts, and passions to ourselves. 

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Stewardship is not about waiting until everything is perfect before planting our feet on the ground and digging in. Stewardship is a constant process that unfolds as each day passes.

Each artificial branch should’ve been prepared before it was locked into place.

As Christians, we should be working to do the same.

Our lives should already be extended and a little bent out of shape when it’s time for us to make our debut…proof we’ve been standing our ground and holding our own. 

We shouldn’t wait until we have it all together before giving our all. God calls us to use our hands and move our feet right now.

Be faithful now.

Grow now.

Strive to make a difference now.

Be purposeful in the preparation.

In what ways can you start serving those around you now?

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