There is poor and then there is poor; we were the latter.
It was the early 70s and my husband’s military salary was less than $500 a month. It was our first Christmas together as a married couple and I wasn’t going to let anything thwart my holiday enthusiasm. Not even the pathetic Charlie Brown Christmas tree cut from the woods behind our rental house in Maine.
The limbs of the misshapen tree were so crooked that I dubbed it my ‘Tiny Tim’ tree. All it needed was a crutch to help it stand upright and some ornaments to hide its flaws. What ornaments? I had none. With scissors, cardboard, ribbon, aluminum foil and glue I constructed handmade decorations for my first Christmas tree. Popcorn strung onto fishing line was the garland.
There were no gifts beneath the tree that year, but it didn’t matter.
Everything we owned at that time would have filled the back of a pick-up truck with space to spare. We had a warm place to live, a bed, food and each other. Who needed gifts? On Christmas day we were gifted with a beautiful Christmas snow and a surprise visit from my Michigan in-laws. It was a Christmas to remember even though it was lacking in many ways.
Mary & Joseph’s first Christmas together lacked many things.
Mary was pregnant and ready to deliver at any time. Their newlywed cash flow situation wasn’t any better than my husband’s military pay. Their personal belongings were limited to whatever they could pack on the back of a mule.
Their only home on Christmas was a manger where they slept on beds of hay. There was no platter of ham or turkey to carve. There were no gifts to open and not even a Charlie Brown tree to decorate. But they had each other; it was all that mattered.
God’s best gifts are given to us in times of scarcity.
When we lack nothing, it is difficult to recognize the blessings of God in our life. It is in scarcity that God truly reveals Himself to us in amazing ways. Look no further than the manger. God’s greatest gift to mankind was the birth of Jesus in a humble stable void of any amenities.
God could have sent anything to the desert terrain of Bethlehem; including an evergreen tree. Instead, He sent majestic angels to sing heavenly praises and a brilliant star to penetrate the darkness of night. God chartered Wise Men to bring gifts, and lowly shepherds to pay tribute to a newborn King.
Let Jesus be your tree stand this Christmas.
Jesus longs to restore the crookedness of your ‘Tiny Tim’ tree limbs. He wants to breathe life into the dead needles of your ‘Charlie Brown’ tree. When your roots are seated in Jesus’ tree stand, His hope, forgiveness and promises feed and nourish your life. He holds the patent on a “lifetime warranty” tree stand.
In times of scarcity, God is at our side; ready, willing and able to offer us His finest gifts IF we seat our roots in the tree stand of Christ Jesus. When we do, He presents us with gifts wrapped in hope, redemption, grace, mercy and healing.
“Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation (tree stand) for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” (Colossians 2:7)