Well, it was my first Christmas at a new church. It felt as if I were still in the “honeymoon” phase. Things were just going right, but not for long!

Thanksgiving came and the staff realized that no one had purchased a Christmas tree. There was a nice tree farm owned by some Methodists down South of town. The Associate Pastor and I decided that we would help by going and cutting a tree for the church (and while there, get one for each of us).

We came back to the church smiling with pride. We put up the tree and said nothing about it, not even who purchased it. It was not long until the woman who decorated the tree every year came by and visited the office with tears in her eyes. That tree would simply not work for her Chrismons! Others on the altar guild observed that the tree was too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, had gaps among its branches, had a crooked trunk, and leaned.

I learned a valuable lesson that year about our Christmas traditions, expectations, and practices. Our tastes, our observances, and our timing are vastly different. Indeed, my Associate Pastor and I disagreed as to
whether big Christmas lights or little lights were better on a tree. He put snow on his tree and I left mine plain. I put an angel on top of my tree and he had a star on his.

The bottom line in all this conversation is that never again have I purchased a Christmas tree for a church. God sent His Son to bring hope and love and joy into the world, not superfluous disagreements and tension filled celebrations.

Well, my Associate and I weathered it. We kept our heads down, went right on working, and said very little about that Christmas tree.

This Christmas, don’t let the little things bother you! We have great news to celebrate!!


Ed Tomlinson