18 In Faith/ family

O Christmas Tree: {Life In The Midst of Winter}

I read somewhere recently that the evergreen tree was an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter.  I don’t know if this is a true statement or not, but I would definately say that it is true for my life in this season.

My husband and I have been walking a difficult winter season of unemployment.  It’s going on three years now.  Although there have been jobs in between, and the occasional call back from the prior boss, my husband remains unemployed.  Needless to say, Christmas is going to be a little different for us this year.

One of the things we were missing is the annual cutting down of our Christmas Tree. Although we have only been doing this as a family for about four years, It broke my heart to have to tell my children that we would not be cutting down a tree this year, and that there was the possibility of not having a tree at all.

But a few weeks ago, my family received an unexpected gift that is making a huge impact on my heart.  In the mail, I received a check from a woman who I have never met in real life, but whose heart is intertwined with mine in so many ways.  The check was to be used to purchase a tree for my family.  I could barely speak.  I was amazed at the very tangible display of God’s love towards me.  I cried, I laughed, I shouted for joy.  The best part of all was telling my children how God had provided our tree this year.

Life, in the midst of winter.

Last night, we finally purchased our tree.  We did not trek up the mountain as in prior years.  We opted instead to visit our local Home Depot.

My kids enjoyed running from tree to tree, pointing out the ones they liked.  The varying opinions were wearing my patience and I was ready to go home.  Not having quite agreed on a tree yet, we opted to unravel a tree that was not yet on display and lo and behold, we found it!

I have been pondering this tree, this gift from the Lord to our family.  The tree itself is about 3-4 feet smaller (and thinner) than we normally get.  My first impression was of how much smaller it was, but really, it couldn’t be more perfect.  This season I have been focusing on the simplicity of Jesus, what it truly means to fix my eyes on Him, and this simple and humble tree had a few lessons for my heart wrapped up in its leaves of evergreen.

As we hung our ornaments on the tree, I was reminded that only in Christ is my hope and joy secure.

We could not fit the usual large ornaments on the tree, nor did we feel the large bows I used last year would do this little, humble tree justice.  So we unpacked the smallest of ornaments, from snowflakes to stars to candy canes.  My favorites are the ones that display the handiwork of my children.

This little tree with it’s lights so bright is helping to remind me that the light of Christ shines brighter than the darkness.  He came to bring light to hopeless situations.  He came so that the Father’s glory might be displayed on earth.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.He is light, and in Him there is no darkness.
(1 John 1:5)

This light of Christ weaved it’s way into our house this Christmas. Through it, I am reminded that there is indeed life in the midst of winter, because His light shines brighter.

Thank you Jesus that you came.  Thank you for the gift of friendship.  Thank you for the gift of a tree.  Thank you that there is life in the midst of winter.

May Your light shine, for all the world to see!

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Corinthians 4:6)

18 Comments

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    December 12, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Love, love, love this, Barbie! Oh, the tenderness of our Father! Oh, that He does indeed bring life in winter and light in darkness! Beautiful testimony of His love. Blessings, dear friend! I know you will continue to see His faithfulness and love revealed.

    And all of the lights in my home right now, on our tree and on our house and via candles is one of my favorite parts about Christmas. He is light!

    Love and prayers,
    K
    Kimberly recently posted..Arrow Lessons

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you Kimberly! I am pressing in. He is faithful to show me His goodness!

  • Reply
    Mary
    December 12, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Oh, Barbie…this is beautiful, both the writing and the tree. I’m praying for you my friend.
    Mary recently posted..It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you so much Mary! You’re prayers are felt.

  • Reply
    Jennifer peterson
    December 12, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Love this and we have been there not being able to cut down the tree, I know how you felt. But what an amazing God!! What an amazing friend!! Much love to you Barbie and your family. Your in my prayers!!
    Jennifer peterson recently posted..Red Bucket

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you Jennifer!

  • Reply
    Nikki
    December 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Love how God cares for us…
    It’s a beautiful tree, Barbie!

    May you truly see the wonder of Him this season, friend.
    Love and hugs to you!
    Nikki recently posted..All Hopes and Fears Are Met

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks so much Nikki!

  • Reply
    Nancy @ Pilgrim Wanderings
    December 12, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Love how He uses friends to send just what we need to lift our spirits. 🙂 Linked my post on decorating through the pain this year in your link-up.

    And your tree is beautiful!
    Nancy @ Pilgrim Wanderings recently posted..Changing My Focus – Advent 2012 – Day 7

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks Nancy! Looking forward to reading your post.

  • Reply
    Christina
    December 12, 2012 at 7:06 am

    One year when my father was out of work a family from church brought us a Christmas tree. I’ll never forget it. Our greatest gift came on a tree–eternal life. I know this tree gives you deeper meaning this Christmas. What a wonderful gift for your family!
    Christina recently posted..Through My Weakness

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      This little tree is being used by God to do a great work in my heart. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Stephani
    December 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

    How awesome is this?!! I can relate more than you know. I intended to email you quite some time ago about my own struggle to make ends meet. Plan to do that soon. Grace and peace to you . . . . .
    Stephani recently posted..A Day in December

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      Thank you Stephani! I’ll be looking forward to that email!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    December 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    What a beautiful tree and SUCH a blessing! I’m so glad I decided to pop in today to see how you’ve been doing! It’s been too long!!
    Rachel recently posted..Girl time & a DIY Ornament Wreath…..

    • Reply
      Barbie
      December 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      Rachel, I’ve missed you. Yes, it’s been a long time. Thank you for stopping over. And I’m heading over to check on you!

  • Reply
    Rosann
    December 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Oh Barbie, I just love how God is always glorified in the midst of your difficult path. Thank you for never taking your eyes off Him. You are an encouragement and an inspiration to so many and God is using you in great ways, my friend. {Hugs}
    Rosann recently posted..The Season Of Waiting

  • Reply
    Sarabell
    December 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Beautiful words and a beautiful tree! There is just something about Christmas tree time. =]
    Sarabell recently posted..Trolley Square

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