I went with the kids yesterday to pick out our Christmas tree. I am usually the one to pick it out and put it up, so this is nothing unusual. I pride myself in finding "great" trees, that have perfect shape, ideal fullness, and just the right height. One year when I was younger my dad and brother picked out the Christmas tree for our family and it was the saddest looking tree! It looked like it had several smaller trees growing out from the sides and we've teased dad and Brian about that tree ever since.
I spent a good amount of time looking through trees yesterday, and finally found the one that was the perfect height, not too full, and had a beautiful shape... or so I thought. Maybe it was the kids that were distracting me, or the 101 questions from my 3 year old son wanting to know why we were bringing a tree home?... or maybe,... just maybe,... I'd like to think my dad had something to do with my picking this tree.
I got home with the tree, got the kids inside, and heaved the tree off the top of the Jeep. I got it up on the porch, put it in the tree stand and stood it up. My only thoughts were,.... "What on earth?!?!" ... The tree must be severely bowed in the middle,... in fact I am convinced that the trunk must turn a full 180 degrees somewhere under those pine needles... but no matter how many ways I turned that tree, or screwed the trunk holders in, .... it was obnoxiously crooked!!! I had to take a step back and just laugh out loud!! In that moment, I could clearly picture dad up in heaven with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, laughing to his hearts content at my "not so perfect" tree.
So this year, when I look at our tree,... even with 5 of the kids children's books propped up in various places under the stand,... I see a crooked, imperfect tree. I also see my dad, .... imperfect, just as we all are,... he took the time to teach me about the GREATEST gift ever. He and my mom introduced me to my savior, Jesus. This Christmas as I now teach MY children about the GREATEST gift ever given,... I will think of my dad,... and I will smile, cry, and laugh a little.... especially as we celebrate the season around our crooked, imperfect tree.