Tis the season! Time to put the autumn decor away and replace it with the Christmas decor. The day after Thanksgiving, I recruited my sweet husband to take on the tree decorating challenge with me. He agreed before he knew that there would be extra work involved. Thankfully, once he was informed of the special request, he did not back out.
I like to recycle and repurpose. If something is broken I like to fix it or have it fixed. Especially if it was expensive. I exhaust all efforts to restore an item until all hope of restoration is gone. Then and only then does it end up in the trash.
A couple of years ago our pre-lit Christmas tree decided not to light up. I tried changing bulbs and fuses but that didn’t work. So instead of discarding it, I just didn’t plug it in. I went out and bought more lights and put them on the tree hoping no one would notice the lifeless bulbs. Much to my delight, my scheme worked.
Last year, feeling nostalgic, we decided to buy a live tree. That was fun but a lot of money to spend on something that only lasts one month and then ends up at the road. So, this year we went back to being frugal and practical and brought out the old dysfunctional pre-lit tree. But this time, instead of trying to hide the inoperable lights, we decided to remove what was broken and replace it with what worked.
My husband was such a good sport about the extra work. He did not run away from the challenge. We both got out our scissors and got to work. It was a daunting, back straining task. It ended up being more work than we had anticipated. The wires were not only attached to the tree but they were knotted around every branch. The tree was literally entangled in useless wires and bulbs. Half way through the process we were rethinking our noble decision. However, we persevered and saw the task through to the end.
Off with the old and on with the new! With all of the unusable lights removed, we could then add the usable lights and ornaments. The finished product is a bright radiant tree that is serving its purpose. It’s a beautiful spot to place our gifts beneath and its beauty can be enjoyed by all who see it. Plus we can relax knowing that we no longer have to hide the secret of the dead lights and we can feel good about not adding to the landfill. A win-win for all!
The broken lights represent darkness; they don’t light up. In the bible, darkness represents evil and sin. Sometimes we want to secretly hold on to our sin and use godly things, words and deeds to distract from the truth; the truth of our entanglement in hidden sin. We know that the sin is what’s broken in our lives and that it is unproductive, useless and maybe even embarrassing. But we are afraid of the pain and effort it will take to change. So we take the easy way out and hang on to our brokenness while continuing to conceal the truth.
Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Proverbs 5:22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. Psalm 90:8 You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Luke 12:2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. Job 12:22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. Psalm 107:14 He brought them out of darkness, and broke away their chains. 2 Samuel 22:29 You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Just as in the case of that broken pre-lit tree, a lot of people may be ready to give up on us. They may want to throw us away. They may label us as trash, hopeless, dysfunctional, unproductive and useless. But God!
Thankfully God is in the restoration business (Psalm 80:3 Restore us, O God; make Your face shine on us, that we may be saved)! When He looks at us He sees what we will be, not what we appear to be. We are priceless to Him. He’s not concerned with the work it will take to change us. He has a plan! He wants to remove all the things in our lives that are useless and broken and replace them with things that serve a purpose and are productive. He wants to cut us free from the sin that entangles us. It isn’t easy and it isn’t painless but it is always worth it. The finished product is a life that is bright and radiant with God’s light, love and joy. A life that is beautiful and meaningful. A life that can be enjoyed by all who see it and experience it. A life that is free from darkness and secrets. A life that is usable for God’s glory and for the good of others. A life that goes from trash to treasure. Now that’s a win-win for all!
If you would like to accept Christ as your savior, pray: Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.