An Imperfect Christmas 

The North woods of Wisconsin are filled with pine trees. Getting a Christmas tree is as easy as going out your back door, cutting one down, dragging it into the house, and throwing some shiny stuff on it.

It should be that easy anyway.

The weekend after Thanksgiving my family and I trudged around our 2 acre lot looking for a perfect Christmas Tree. The study of pine trees reveals that perfect Christmas Trees are rare. Most are too short or tall, too scraggly, too thin, half-dying, or any number of other problems. A tree I liked, no females in the family liked. The female-favored tree looked ridiculous to me.

Eventually we compromised on a tree that was about 30-feet tall. The top couple feet looked ideal for Christmas decor. My daughter began sawing the tree. The blade on the saw snapped. I got another saw. The tree eventually fell after much grunting and groaning (also known as whining) and the daughter completed her cut. We cut it again to utilize the top section, which didn’t look so good now that it was at eye-level.

We snipped a few branches and got it through the door, where it dropped a quarter of its needles. Once we got it in the Christmas Tree stand, I remembered the stand was broken. I had my daughter go into the garage to get a block of wood to shove in there to keep the tree in place. She got the wrong size. I left her holding the tree and went to get the right sized block. The tree was finally stationary. It was done. Until my wife said, “That’s a little big; it takes up half the living room. No one can get through the back door.”

Enough said, out that tree went. I went out and hacked down a short tree I had seen earlier. I trimmed it, dragged it into the house, propped it up in the tree stand and admired it. “It’s a little thin on that one side.” I turned the thin side toward the wall. “Well, it’ll do” was the official word. This 15-minute task had consumed over an hour and resulted in “it’ll do.”

Nothing is perfect down here. Even the easiest appearing tasks become ordeals. And, quite frankly, stupid looking Christmas Trees are a very minor issue.

More than likely, all your happy thoughts and plans for Christmas are going to fall apart. Many people consider such problems to “ruin Christmas.”

On the contrary! Problems in the world are precisely why there is a Christmas!

Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem the world. He came precisely because the world has problems. We have problems. Trees have problems. Problems exist because of the curse brought about by Adam’s sin. God saw the curse and the problems, and was moved with compassion to enter into the problems, and then die for the problems in order to release us from the problems!

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). Christ came to redeem creation from sin’s curse and the problems that ensued.

And, don’t forget: you and I are a problem too! I’m not perfect. I am, in fact, part of the problem. But Christ also came to deliver us! We are one of the problems Christ came to redeem! We can say with Paul, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Your plans for Christmas will not work. Something is going to go wrong, maybe even massively wrong. Bad things happen in a fallen world. This will not “ruin Christmas”.  Your problems are why Christ was born!