Have you ever thought about what makes the perfect Christmas tree? As I recall, I think we’ve managed to find our perfect tree every year so far. How about you? In our family, we have a tradition of finding the tree together. When the kids were little, we used to chop down our own, either from a Christmas tree farm, or when we lived in Marquette, from our own back fifty acres. However, now we just go to the local market and look for the tree with the most symmetrical shape and loaded with thick boughs just perfect for hanging lots of ornaments. After we’ve checked out every tree and figured out which tree we like the best, we let the expert trim off the base so that it’s perfectly flat and drill the hole for absorbing tree slurpees (1 gallon water+1 tablespoon bleach+1/4 cup sugar). We sold our 15-passenger stretch van to a friend with nine kids, so this year we had to strap the tree on top. In fact, the salesman tied us all in, but Joel graciously & nimbly climbed out a window to untie the doors when we got home! Long gone are the days when Alan and I had to do all the lifting and carrying! This year we just admired and took pictures, while our sons did all the work. 🙂 When the kids were little, we used to decorate the Christmas tree all together, but the little ones usually hung bunches of decorations on all the lowest branches and it looked a little—well, shall I say a smidgen less than aesthetically perfect? After the children were nestled all snug in their beds, I would rearrange the ornaments until I thought everything looked “just perfect.” Of course, my idea of perfection would doubtless be different from someone else’s, but I’ve learned that beauty—and perfection—are both somewhat in the eye of the beholder. After Alan and I were too tired to work anymore, and were nestled all snug in our bed, Joel (our “baby”) stayed up and finished decorating the Christmas tree for us. And you know what? When I woke up the next morning, I thought to myself,“Wow!” The tree looks just perfect!”
My kids are all grown up! “Perfect” can mean “flawless,” but it can also mean “mature; accomplished; complete.” When Jesus told us in Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” I don’t think He was putting the burden on us to never, ever make a mistake or fail, in the same sense in which our omnipotent, omniscient, and holy God is perfect. I believe Jesus was calling us to himself, to be “born again” as a spiritual babe and to walk in faith from spiritual infancy toward spiritual maturity, knowing that all along the way, we would be imperfect in the ultimate sense, but still “just perfect” in God’s eyes. This is not because we are perfect, but because of his unfathomable love and compassion for us as we journey toward maturity, just like we find pleasure in our children from infancy to adulthood and often think that what they’ve done is “just perfect.”
“As for God, his way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31).
“God is my strength and power, and he makes my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33).