Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Beautifully Ugly Tree

This is a reprint of a note I posted on Facebook about a year ago.

You may know that I am not fond of decorating for Christmas. I don't fully understand why, I just know that for many years I have viewed it as a chore. For 2 years now I have searched for a "primitive" style christmas tree. I thought that such a tree with its sparse branches, would be less work. Last year I purchased a (traditional) pre-lit tree, thinking that would help. The tree was up and ready to decorate in record time, no thanks to my whining about it. And this tree still does not look good. The bottom 2 rows of branches are significantly longer than the rest of the tree. {sigh}

Well last night I found my primitive tree

I decorated it this evening and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent lovingly placing each branch. My kids think the tree is ugly. This doesn't surprise me; they don't share my aesthetic. Their assessment is technically correct. There is nothing symmetrical or abundant about the tree. The branches are skinny and wiry. The trunk has bare places. No matter how I place shims under the base I can't seem to get it to stand straight. 

But as I hung my crafty country style ornaments on my tree, I wondered why this was not onerous and burdensome. Why was this tree different? It took time to unpack and set up - someone had put it in the box with the branches pushed down instead of up. 

Then I realized I liked decorating this tree because there are no expectations of this tree, or it's decorator

No one expects this tree to compete with those on display in stores and town squares. 

This tree accepts its weaknesses, even embraces them. 

There is beauty in its honesty. There is beauty in its lack of pretense. There is beauty in its simplicity. 

It reminded me of us as humans. We all have ugliness in our hearts. But there are those who see the potential in us. And there is One who values us regardless of our outward appearances, who saw our pathetic state and said, "This one is worth something. This one has value not seen by others."

As I lovingly coaxed my tree to life, I found the lyrics to "Perfect People" by Natalie Grant running through my head. "So come as you are, broken and scared.... Who lived and died to give new life To heal our imperfections...."  

My tree only has a few ornaments and no star for a crown.  Yes, my tree is ugly.  But only to those who don't recognize its value.

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