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O Christmas tree!!!

The Christmas tree we bought this year is probably the largest one we’ve ever had (about nine feet tall).  I know it sure seems like the heaviest.  Fortunately my son was here when we bought it so between the two of us we were able to wrestle it into the tree stand and get it up.  Then we got out of the way while the tree decorators did their thing.  When all was said and done, it looked quite nice.  It even had a star on top.

This was the weekend after Thanksgiving and that’s our spot in the rotation with our children and grandchildren this year so everyone was at our house.  That meant our youngest daughter was sleeping on the couch in our living room where the tree is.  At 6:23 am on Sunday morning I received a text from her.  She wanted to know if I was awake because she needed some help.  The tree had fallen down (and it couldn’t get up), and she couldn’t get it up.  I went in there and we wrestled with it but this time the tree won.  The stand was broken (our tree probably exceeded the weight it was designed to hold --- something I hadn’t thought about).

Our children all live several hours away so they had to get on the road and we needed to get to church.  Later that day we purchased a deluxe tree stand --- the bowl the base of the tree goes in was 8 ½ inches deep and instead of 4 screws, it had two rows of four screws.  We were going to show that tree who was boss!  Of course, it was a little difficult for the two of us to get the tree to cooperate but we did and it was up --- sort of.  I kept thinking it didn’t look very straight but it was in the deluxe tree stand.  What could go wrong?

You already know the answer to that.  It fell during the night and Janice got up and instead of waking me up, she did some emergency clean up and somehow managed to lift it up and stand it against the wall (very impressive but she does teach third graders so she's experienced in crisis management).  When I found out what happened I knew the situation had to be taken care of and taken care of immediately.  I could almost hear it mocking us as it leaned against the wall.  If we didn’t get this resolved it was going to lead to World War Tree. 

I thought about the situation a bit and realized that the base of the tree was probably not touching the bottom of the bowl in the tree stand and that’s why it was tilting.  We had avoided cutting off the lowest branches for aesthetic reasons. We wanted our largest tree ever to look full and flourishing --- not scrawny and scraggly. I drug the tree out on to our front porch and cut away a few of the lowest limbs, put the stand back on, drug it into the house and stood it up --- straight as an arrow!

I suppose there are multiple lessons to be learned from this little incident (I call them prosperity problems to differentiate from genuine difficulties), but I keep thinking about the fact that we were so preoccupied with how the tree looked that we ignored some fundamental principles of physics. As a result, we ended up learning the hard way that a few lower branches being removed doesn't affect the look of a tree nearly as much as it falling a couple of times.
And it made me wonder how many times we ignore important spiritual principles because we are preoccupied with appearances. We want to be trendy, spontaneous, and cutting edge to the point that we take a shortcut around truth. We end up with something that looks good  momentarily (everyone is raving about it on social media), but ultimately it will not stand. I'm not arguing against being forward thinking or trying new things --- we must do that.  I'm simply saying that not everything that glitters is gold.
That's especially true for nine foot Christmas trees.
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