Recently, while celebrating Christmas at a friend's house, I came across a decoration that I'd never seen before. It was a small replica of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. You remember the story...
Charlie Brown and Linus are nominated to choose their class Christmas tree. And so, one snowy night the two make their way through the tree-filled lot, looking for just the right one. And that's when it happens. Charlie Brown, who's always felt a little plain and un-spectacular, stumbles upon a tree that he can identify with. This Christmas tree is sad. While all the other trees are robust and full, this poor little creature is homely and unpretentious. Certainly not the festive centre-piece the class had in mind. However, Charlie Brown doesn't see it that way. He makes the decision and the tree is purchased. But as they bring their find to school, the kids are not impressed.
In fact, they're quite vocal with their opinions: Charlie Brown's tree is a flop. While he can't argue that the little fellow needs some Yuletide attention, Charlie Brown isn't about to condemn it to the trash heap. But even as he hangs one lone ball on its branches, the poor tree just bends at its weight. What's he gonna do? All the kids can focus on is the extravagance of the season. All Charlie Brown wants is to give a tree some love.
And that's when Linus steps in. Walking up to the microphone, in the midst of all the arguing, Linus begins to quote from the Bible of the very first Christmas. He tells of the mother and the Baby and the shepherds and the star. He recounts the amazing choir of angels singing glory to God in the highest. As his words fill the auditorium, something begins to change. The children are stopped in their tracks and calm replaces confusion. And something else happens. They all gather around Charlie Brown's needy tree and literally shower it with love. When they step back, that little tree is the most festive, most beautiful, most glowing Christmas tree any of them had ever seen - all because of its exposure to love.
Genuine love truly transforms the ordinary. And that's what I hope you take away from this Christmas. Like Charlie Brown's tree, in ourselves, there's nothing divinely impressive about us. We're pretty plain and un-spectacular. But as we see ourselves through God's eyes and allow His transformational love to saturate us, something happens. It may start with a subtle glow, a gradual straightening of our branches, but soon our lives begin to shine brightly the colours of God's love. An ordinary person made extraordinary through Heaven's perfect Gift. A Charlie Brown tree no more!