It was two below zero at eight o’clock this morning here in Hopkinton, New Hampshire; therefore, I thought it best that we walk a little later in the day. One of the tasks I thought I might begin today (although I am not sure I will do so) is to begin to take down our Christmas tree. That is a task we never look forward to accomplishing. Dale and I so love the Christmas season that we hang on to it as long as we can.
We put our tree up about two weeks before Christmas, and it is still very green and fresh. That makes us hesitate about removing it from our living room.
Now when my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, there were seven children in my family, and we never saw the tree put up in the living room until the day before Christmas. The tree would be brought into the house, always a very large tree, and only the lights would be placed upon it for Santa decorated the tree. I think that was because Santa knew we would break many of the precious ornaments if we were to put them on ourselves. But it was wonderful that way for when we came downstairs Christmas morning, the Christmas tree was the most wonderful, overwhelming sight one could see.
Now, my mother also hated taking down the tree, and so when Christmas was passed as the tree would still be very green, it would be left up. One year when the postman came to the door, it was postman back then not post person as it is today, he said to my mother, “Mrs. Boyle, your tree is still up, and it’s now February.” The neighbors thought we were rather weird but that did not matter to us for we held fast to the joy of Christmas.
One part about our walk together being written is that I can share a picture. Here is the picture of our Christmas tree this year.
It is far from the perfectly shaped trimmed trees that we have had in the past. This tree came from the National Forest here in the White Mountains. Dale went into the woods with our daughter Kathryn and Tom her husband, and they cut down the tree. It was then lugged out of the woods, and we brought it home in our truck.
Now as you can see, this is not a perfect tree. As a matter of fact, it is very imperfect. When I was growing up, it is the kind of tree that my mother would have insisted my father drill holes in and wire in branches to fill in the bare spots. We did not want to do that. Notice how all the ornaments stand out. You can see the ornaments very well for the tree is not so thick that it was difficult to hang them. Our Christmas tree this year has been one of our favorite trees, if not the most favorite ever. Oh my, how I am going to hate to undecorate it.
I believe that tree is similar to you and to me. We are imperfect like that tree. Here and there we seem to be missing a branch or a there is a branch that is twisted and not pretty to look at. I’m rather glad that I am imperfect; how about you? It would be pretty difficult to live with a saint, and I have never been accused of sainthood. I question you have ever been accused of such as well. It is right that we strive to meet our potential in life, but life is a precious gift even in imperfection.
What is most important about our imperfections is that we are forgiving for those imperfections in other people. Sometimes it is so easy to judge someone rather than look at his or her life, and the obstacles that have had to be overcome. What is lacking in ourselves we need to understand when it is lacking in others.
Saint Paul who loved and served Jesus Christ admitted that he had imperfections. We know that he had a “thorn in his flesh,” times when he was not well, and his body was not as strong as a normal person might have. Yet in his imperfection, he brought us great teachings and wisdom about God’s gift to us, our Lord Jesus. That imperfection in him gave him compassion, humility, and love for others.
This is what Paul said, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefor I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Corinthians 12: 7-10)
So as our Christmas tree is imperfect so are we – thus we should be filled with love and compassion for those who walk this journey with us who have perhaps not met our expectations or who appear to be flawed and weak. Are we any different? Don’t you think we should listen to Saint Paul and be strong in our weakness?
I am so pleased you walked with me today. I welcome your comments – and until Friday, “ May the Lord walk between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.
If you would like to send a comment to Ken about this blog post, please go to the “Contact” page and let him know what you think about it.