Monday, December 16, 2013

Surviving Christmas, Or Living it? {Messy Monday}

The righteous flourish like the palm tree
    and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
    they are ever full of sap and green,
 to declare that the Lord is upright;
    he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Psalm 92:12-15

This morning, I told my husband they need to make a survivalist show about pastors' families during Advent.

We watched a survival show last night and, while I certainly wouldn't trade places with the marooned green beret, I know he wouldn't trade places with me either.

Look at all of us- just trying to survive. On a blow-up life boat. On a micro-suede sectional.

Like we're all just a bunch of Christmas trees biding our time until someone strips off the pretty ornaments and we're kicked to the curb.

Is that how you feel sometimes? Like you're just trying to make it through?

I hope not.

But if you are, then I have something to tell you:

You are not a Christmas tree.


You're an Evergreen.

It's a matter of life and death.

My oldest was observing our Christmas tree the other day. We cut it down the day after Thanksgiving.

"It's not as pokey as it used to be." (Indeed, decorating that baby reminded me of why they bear the name "pine needles.")

"Nope, it sure isn't."

"Why?"

"Because it's losing it's luster."

"What does that mean?"

"It's dying, Hon. Actually, it is dead. We're just trying to keep it looking alive for as long as possible."

She was confused and a little mortified.

Evergreens point to the eternal greatness of our God. Christmas trees point to our death and desperate need for The Life.

A perfect Christmas illustration.

This time of year we get distracted by shiny things. Soon the ball in Time Square will drop and fireworks will blaze and resolutions will be made. We'll remember that another year has past, and fool ourselves into thinking that means our luster is slipping away as well.

Soon we'll fall flat, and succumb to the temptation to compare ourselves to others. Tempted into discontent.

Trapped in "survival mode."

And my tree won't be here to remind me that any way you dress it up- death is still death.

The tree will pass away, but our Lord has an amazing way of taking a death on a tree and giving eternal life.

Death is still death, and life is still life.

Christmas is about more than survival. It's about life- in a manger. In a tomb. In glory.

And it's not too late. It's my prayer that God grants us the grace to stop right here. Right now. And regardless of what needs to be done, wrapped, baked, or sung, that He gives us the life-giving heart of this Advent season. Praying for you dearly beloved friends.