Insignificant, lonely and barren.
There is a solitary, scraggly spruce tree perched atop a knoll along the side of Duncan Road in Knoxville. You would never notice it unless you were looking for it. Its branches are odd lengths. There are bare spots on all sides. It is dwarfed by a series of massive evergreen trees around it. It truly looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree from the classic cartoon special.
Yet for one month out of the year, this tree shines. Literally. Someone from a neighboring group of houses runs an extension cord across the field and illuminates the tree with lights. And every night around sundown this scruffy tree becomes a beautiful beacon of light on a dark stretch of Knox County roadway.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
My family loves the tradition. We look for it each night when coming home from work, church or a ball practice. We talk about it all year long too. “When will they turn on the Duncan Road Christmas Tree this year?”
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5: 13-14
Aren’t we all a bit like this tree? We often feel insignificant, unattractive and unloved. We compare ourselves to others- only seeing the qualities that we wish we possessed.
The truth is that we are unique individuals. And God has given us unique talents. Talents that should be used to serve others and spread the love of Jesus all over the world.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
God loves us for who we are, not for who we think we should be. This holiday season let’s put aside our fears and doubts. Let’s pray for the realization of our unique gifts…the gifts that God has given us to serve and make a difference in the lives of others.
And like that spruce tree on Duncan Road, let’s shine when given the opportunity.
God bless you. Merry Christmas.