“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” ~Sigrid Undset

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The Teacher calls me “Kim Christmas.”

I’ve been known to go a little crazy with the Christmas decorations and traditions. In fact, when I brought the boxes down this year my daughter said, “You know Mom, sometimes simpler is better.” I wonder if she’ll feel the same way as I slowly take that thought into gift buying.

This year, as well as last, I pull the plug on cut greens around the house.

This comes as such an easy decision for the past two years, but wasn’t always so. I love fresh evergreen branches trimmed from the bottom of our Christmas tree. Cut right from the source, these fragrant greens add a beautiful touch to a mantle or around the nativity scene.

But they lose the charm after a week or two and only prove to make a big mess. They lose their source of strength and beauty.

 

The now annual decision has become a very intentional and symbolic choice to nix them from our home.

I’ve decided these branches are deceptive. They remind me of living, breathing, “Christian” people who look fresh, green, and smell good, but only in the beginning.

These types smile, perform the same daily tasks we all do, and even show up at church once in a while. The outside is only a store front cover.

Truth be known all the charlatan types have done is make a big mess. When examined long enough, their choices reveal dried out deadness and shed needles everywhere. 

Jesus said: 

4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Just like cut greens placed decoratively around the house at Christmas time, the faker has broken off from the true source. Silently they become dry (hardened), brittle (bitter), and discarded on the ground (downhearted). Look closely and they’re around too many corners. Dead needles pollute our streets.

Don’t get me wrong… I haven’t stopped cutting the greens as an act of judgment.

We are all just one choice away from a MESS.

I am this person too, dropping needles down my path, on the days of poor decisions and a walk away from the vine. The shedding thickens in busyness, neglect or a lazy attitude. Abiding is the most important thing we can do, but each of us gets off track on this one. This time of year I’m acting schizophrenic between choosing the bustle of Martha or the recline of Mary before a Savior in hay. I get it and fight against the real fact that I could be the faker in one second. Only one decision turns us in the wrong direction. 

My choice to remove cut greens is a desperate act.

A prayer.

A living parable within my own home to remind and remember that I cannot be fresh, green and fragrant if I am not connected to the true vine.

I want to bear fruit, not shed needles all over the hardwood floor for someone else to clean up. 

 

Photo Credit:Flickr & Flickr (Creative Commons)