My Heart's Home

January 20, 2011

Artificial Trees

Filed under: Christmas — My Heart's Home @ 12:29 am

I admit I’m a procrastinator. It’s mid-January and our Christmas tree is still up. Makes sense, considering it was mid-December before it took center stage.

Sitting all comfy cozy with a cup of cocoa in hand, I gaze at its overall beauty then focus on details. My eyes dart from a dangling icicle to a snow-tipped pinecone. Crimson and golden balls reflecting stringed lights’ glow catch my attention next—each strategically placed upon five-year-old limbs (and a few that weren’t by five-year-old limbs).

I smile. I stare. I reflect.

Christmas trees are a lot like people.

They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and scents, gussied-up or plain, high or low maintenance, artificial and real.

I prefer maintenance-free, pre-lit, towering, full-bodied, no annual fee artificial. No chopping, no hauling, no sap, no stringing, no watering, no shedding, no allergies, no disposing. But your average, run-of-the-mill, clearance aisle, garage sale, grandma’s attic hand-me-down spruce, fir or evergreen won’t do. I’ve had my share of those. If it’s destined to join our family, tickle our first home’s ceiling and outgrow my son’s childhood, I prefer to invest in the best. So I bought mine from Balsam Hill, the crème de la crème crop of artificial trees. Good enough to grace the sets of Oprah Winfrey, Rachel Ray and Ellen DeGeneres; fill the lobbies of fine hotels and embassies around the world; and stand tall in Macy’s famous Santaland exhibit in New York City. Their ultra-realistic branches can fool even the savviest TV host into commenting about the “live” trees on set.

I dupe people, too. Burn a Yankee evergreen-scented candle for greater impact and guests are none the wiser.

But no matter how genuine my Balsam Hill tree looks, smells, and feels—it’s still fake. Visitors might be hoodwinked, but I know the truth: crafted artisans molded the lifelike needles from plastic. Not God-made nature’s way, but man-made factory style.

Christmas trees are a lot like Christians.

According to a recent survey, about 75% of American adults consider themselves Christ followers.

I frown. I gaze. I ponder.

I guess we’re good at looking the part, playing the role and quoting the lines. We wear our Sunday best blouse to match our Sunday school smile. We light up when we’re recognized, praised, affirmed for some unselfish act we’ve done in Jesus’ name, yet we take that same name in vain the rest of the week when pastors, elders and congregants are beyond earshot.

We warm pews, toss tithes, whisper prayers, shout hallelujahs, sing hymns, raise palms, shake hands, bow heads, bend knees, break bread, drink wine. By all appearances we look genuine, real and authentic. Yet beyond the façade, charade and smokescreen—when our Sunday best hangs in darkened closets while our leather-bound Bibles collect dust on shelves—are we the corner barstool drunkard, the casino chasing charlatan, the sailor swearing sister, the spouse stealing adulterer, the child neglecting mother, the tax evading employee? We change our hairstyles, makeup and clothes daily, but do our hearts remain unmoved, unaltered and unchanged?

Like stringed lights on artificial trees?

 “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)


1 Comment »

  1. Wow, that tree looks very real—and very expensive. Beautiful. I liked the analogy too.

    Comment by Holly Herick — January 20, 2011 @ 2:23 am | Reply

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